Wichita and the Old Town Warren Theater Loan


Remarks to be delivered to the Wichita City Council, July 1, 2008.

Mr. Mayor and members of the Council, we are potentially beginning a journey down a road where there are two classes of businesses in Wichita.

There are business owners who seek to earn their profit through market entrepreneurship, that is, by meeting the demands of their customers and the marketplace. That’s a difficult thing to do. An entrepreneur must sense customer demand and desires, and then commit resources to satisfying customers. If entrepreneurs are correct in their judgments and successful in their execution, they earn profits.

There are other business owners who, through TIF districts, tax abatements, and outright subsidy as in the case of the proposed loan agreement before you today, earn their profits by pleasing politicians such as the members of this council. They practice political entrepreneurship. The people they must please are a majority of this council. Investments — to the extent that government spending can be called that — will be made based on political, rather than marketplace, considerations.

We have a proud history of market entrepreneurs in Wichita; men whose names are known not only in Wichita, but across the world. There are many other men and women in Wichita who, although their names are not famous, successfully meet customers’ demands in the marketplace and have built successful businesses.

Mr. Warren is, by all accounts, a talented entrepreneur who earns profits by pleasing customers at his theaters located on Wichita’s west and east sides and in other cities.

The fact that this theater — operated by a person with great experience in running successful theaters — is not profitable tells us all we need to know about the wisdom of investment in this business. If Mr. Warren and his partners wish to run it as a hobby, let them do so with their own money. The citizens of Wichita, however, need to be able to make their own investments in ways that they believe will earn a profit — that profitability being the one sure test of the success of an investment. When government makes “investments” based on political calculation, the people of Wichita are less able to make their own private investments.

The council made an unwise decision some years ago when it established the TIF district for this theater. While the city is bound to pay to retire the bonds that were issued, that is the only obligation we have. The fact that a bad decision was made in the past should have no bearing on the decision to be made today. This is especially true as a decision to make this loan steers Wichita firmly towards the path of less private entrepreneurship and more government control of investment in Wichita.


7 responses to “Wichita and the Old Town Warren Theater Loan”

  1. Great Blog post. I am going to bookmark and read more often. I love the Blog template ? if you need any assistance customizing it let me know!

  2. Successful business have failures all the time. Quick Trip is always opening new stores and closing down old ones, some not to old either. Oil companies drill more dry holes than gushers.

    Democrats Socialist Party have taught the American people to hate companies that make a profit and refund those who lose money on Democrats Socialist Party pet projects is a threat to freedom and liberty.

    The only way they are getting away with this fascism is because they destroyed k-12 education by the private sector a long time ago.

  3. Candice Hare

    I greatly apprecitated meeting you (Bob) and your friend at the city council meeting today. As I said, no joke, I would very much appreciate collaborating some of our efforts in the future. Feel free to contact me by e- mail or phone anytime.
    All Power to the people!

  4. Candice Hare

    Also, Just a question… what about Joyland? Is that not an entertainment outlet for families and young people alike in Wichita, as I recall it provided at least half a day’s worth of fun, which I found much more reasonable for similar prices as the old town Warren. I also imagine an amusement park is much more healthy than sitting in front of a movie screen sipping beer and eating overpriced chicken strips and pizza. I guess that surrounding neighborhood ( Plainview) is not work a city improvement project. Probably just to many of the undeserving poor concentrated into a small area.

  5. […] above: there’s not really a free market for movie theaters in Wichita. The city council has decided to subsidize a movie theater in Old Town, thereby overriding the decision the marketplace […]

  6. […] go to pay off bonds that benefited your property. That’s true even though the city has made a no-interest and low-interest loan to the primary business in this TIF district. As the Eagle story reports: “The move was seen […]

  7. […] likely to force Wichitans to spend even more money on this project, as the city did when it made a no-interest and low-interest loan to a downtown theater that was underperforming in its TIF […]

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