“Exercise Your Options in Washington”

I was chatting with a startup lawyer here in Seattle the other day about California’s recent income tax changes and their potential impact — both real and psychological — on how high-performing startup founders think about where to build their next company.

I’m mostly a tax policy skeptic when it comes to entrepreneurial decision-making; in my experience, success-oriented founders build their companies wherever they think they’ll be most likely to win, and the local tax burden is considered not at all in their decision-making process.

But the recent level of angst among California entrepreneurs — and the growing trickle of income tax refugees I’ve met who have relocated their families to Seattle in the past year — has me questioning my assumptions this time.

I don’t think Seattle needs to get all Texas about it, but we should be proud of how founder-friendly our local culture and policy environment really is — and we shouldn’t be shy about sharing the facts with our entrepreneurial friends down south.

My lawyer friend suggested a tagline for this non-existent founder recruiting campaign: “Exercise your options in Washington”

OK, so it may not be pure marketing genius, but it gets the point across.

If you hate the tagline but like the idea, feel free to weigh in below — or shoot me an email — with your suggestions. I’m at least half-serious about this, and if the broader community gets behind it I can think of a half-a-dozen ways to turn up the volume.

Creative commons image at top by: manleyaudio