This week Wichita voters said “no” to giving developers of the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Wichita 75% of the bed tax it collects for the next 15 years. That’s about 2.25 million dollars. The Tulsa-based developer says he’ll go ahead with the 29 million-dollar project to build a 117-room boutique hotel.
The turnout wasn’t great Tuesday … about 13%. 61% of those citizens voted “no” … 38% “yes”.
The Wichita City Council has approved similar tax-sharing deals with developers in the past. But this time concerned citizens argued that the council’s been picking and choosing who gets the goodies, and that’s not fair to other businesses. Those citizens organized and challenged the plan at the ballot box, and won rather convincingly.
Supporters of the tax-sharing idea say the city needs every incentive tool possible to attract new development to downtown Wichita.
I accurately predicted the outcome. I just had a gut feeling the voters would say “no”.
Our thought for today is from E. B. White:
“Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half the people are right more than half the time.”