Wichitans mislead on Warren IMAX incentives

Wichita theater operator Bill Warren may build an IMAX theater in Oklahoma using economic development incentives. The Wichita Business Journal reports that Warren has been offered a sales tax rebate program there as an incentive.

This is newsworthy because last year Warren received economic development incentives from the City of Wichita based partly on the uniqueness of the proposed theater in the region. At that time Wichita city officials said the Wichita theater would be a “major tourism attraction,” drawing from as far away as Texas. But with another Warren IMAX possibly being built near Oklahoma City, I think we can now acknowledge that we were mislead.

When Warren applied to the Wichita City Council for favored tax treatment for this theater, he implied that without the city’s largesse, he’d take his IMAX theater elsewhere. In his remarks at the council meeting where the tax favoritism was approved, Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer bought into the myth that there can be only one Warren IMAX theater when he said: “A lot of other cities want this IMAX … they’re on the internet watching this city council meeting to see what we’re going to do because they’re going to make a bid for this IMAX.”

Evidently Mayor Brewer didn’t consider that there could be more than one IMAX theater in the region.

This entire episode is more evidence that the Wichita City Council will believe almost anything told to them, as long as it involves the possibility of economic development and jobs.


11 thoughts on “Wichitans mislead on Warren IMAX incentives”

  1. ugh! c’mon bob…you make interesting points….but do you really think an imax in okc three hours away will hurt wichita?

    incentives were given to warren because people here wanted an imax and it improves the quality of life in wichita.

    and its just an f’ing rebate anyways on ticket sales that wouldnt be sold if the damn thing weren’t built. you act like mayor brewer handed him a bag of gold boullion

  2. Actually, I understand that the one that has been receiving the “bags of gold” has been Mr. Brewer. The word to the special interests has been “you have to pay, to play”.

  3. I still think every taxpayer in Wichita should get some free admission tickets, maybe by showing their tax statement? It makes me sick to see such abuse of the taxpayers with these incentives.

    I agree with ATR: it is a pay to play scheme. I will be watching the future “city public service” millionaires as they get paid off for their votes.

  4. OMG h0w stupid are those on the Council to believe that we would draw from more than 50 miles anyway? Voters get what they deserve when they do not pay any attention to the background of those they vote for.

  5. The only reason people would go on the internet to watch our City Council is for the laughs the council members provide for being so damn gullible. This group would offer an Obama birth certificate in the name of economic development for a yet to be tourist attraction..Obama’s house as a child.

  6. The only reason people would go on the internet to watch our City Council is for the laughs the council members provide for being so damn gullible. This group would offer an Obama birth certificate in the name of economic development for a yet to be tourist attraction..Obama’s house as a child.

  7. Incentives were given to Warren because he was such a big donor to Brewer and several other council members’campaigns.
    FRee admission to a WarrenTheater?.just stay home!

  8. A few years before Warren proposed his IMAX, a group (I don’t remember exactly who) wanted to develop one just off of K-96 near Maize. They couldn’t get support from the county or city for this endeavor – then the next thing I hear ol’ Bill is getting the $$ for his IMAX…hmm…I wonder who’s bread he butters?

    Quite honestly though, was there ever anyone who actually believed an IMAX theatre here is a tourist draw? It might bring in folks from rural areas and smaller towns within a couple of hours, but really, who’s gonna drive from Texas just to see a movie? I don’t care how big the screen is.

  9. Hutchinson is 57 miles away… When did the council ever say anything about people from Texas or Oklahoma driving to Wichita to go to the Imax?

  10. There are ways to get rid of the corruption and it is called: RECALL About a month ago, Mayor Alvarez of Dade County, Fla, was recalled by 88% of the vote after having been re-elected to a second term by a huge percentage. Mayor Alvarez was providing government incentives to his friends and campaign contributors and the people decided to do something about it Politicians love the people who get frustrated, give up, don’t vote or get involved. Your apathy is their biggest weapon!

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