Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wilmington Downtown Inc. Needs Your Cash

In a recent email sent out to his entire list, Wilmington Downtown Inc. (WDI) Executive Director John Hinnant had this to say:
Please encourage the City of Wilmington to increase its investment in downtown economic development.
Give the City of Wilmington your input on spending priorities by completing a short online exercise at by December 14. In less than five minutes, you can complete this brief exercise. I also encourage you to forward this email to all your friends and colleagues.
Please feel free to use any of the sources below if you have questions or would like additional information. Thank you in advance for your participation.
More information:
On the web:
WDI is one of the cornucopia of duplicative so-called "economic development" agencies that receive a chunk of taxpayer handouts every year, and contribute to the reason taxes went up across the board for both city and county residents this past fiscal year. The City of Wilmington defends its funding of WDI and others with the argument that outsourcing economic development is cheaper than doing it themselves. But what actually constitutes as "economic development"?

According to its website (, WDI is still promoting the tree lighting ceremony of Nov. 26th; an event called "King's Run", a 5K and 15K race through Wilmington in remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr.; and various self-promoting of WDI's new iPhone app, and other social media. This is what is so important for taxpayers to fund year after year; and the reason for Hinnant's shameless email begging for more money.

It was recently reported that Wilmington is facing a $6 million shortfall in the upcoming budget, and the local media never reports the fact that the amount of debt owed the city reaching upwards of $30 million.

Taxpayers are doing all they can to keep their homes and feed their children in this economy; and the well-insulated taxpayer-subsidized groups such as WDI cannot see past its own self-interest, and self-perpetuation; and are certainly never too proud to keep asking for more.

In addition, how do we know the efforts of these groups actually equate to economic development?

Economic development creates jobs and a more robust and vibrant economy. How many jobs have tree lighting ceremonies and fundraisers created? The city never holds WDI's feet to the fire to really prove its existence, and justify its funding. Hinnant and WDI take advantage of their comfortable position of doing nothing but self sustaining activities, knowing that they will never have to prove that they are really developing the economy; and have gotten so arrogant, that they are asking for more money, despite this current economy (which, ironically, should be in considerable better shape thanks to "economic development" agencies); and despite the city's position of debt and deficit hitting enormous levels.

In this day and age, local government's do not need any economic development organizations that operate on taxpayer money. They should instead focus on fostering a more business-friendly climate, and offer a more streamlined government that operates on less. Another local, taxpayer-funded "economic development" organization, Wilmington Industrial Development (WID), pays its director over $320,000 a year! That's more than most key positions in the federal government, such as Secretary of State, the Vice President of the US, and many others. Meanwhile, they have accomplished nothing of any significance, as we still have unemployment hovering around 9% plus.

Paying these organizations to do nothing but sustain themselves, host private functions, and promote small local activities for tons and tons of taxpayer money that could go toward public safety and other much needed uses, is far beyond irresponsible. The amount of money paid to these directors is vulgar, and serves as an insult to the struggling taxpayer that must fork over their money for these causes. We need to rise up and do exactly the opposite of what Hinnant is demanding - that our governments withhold ANY and ALL funding of these organizations.


  1. Hi,

    Nice contains, economic development refers to a sustainable increase in living standards increased per capita income better education and health as well as environmental protection. Thanks a lot.....

    Downtown Austin For Sale

  2. In this day and age, local government's do not need any economic development organizations that operate on taxpayer money.


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