New Wichita City Rules Could Affect Big Dog Motorcycles

bigdogwolfAs you probably know, many counties and cities lure employers with property tax breaks. The city of Wichita where Big Dog Motorcycles is located considers denying extended tax breaks to employers failing to add jobs and expand at the rates they projected when the city exempted property taxes for them.

Of course, cutting jobs is happening because of the economic downturn, but also in some cases because new technologies are replacing employees, particularly in manufacturing. Wichita city officials want council members to approve tomorrow Tuesday new rules which could lead companies like Big Dog Motorcycles to have its tax exemptions reevaluated.

As promised at the time of obtention of these tax exemptions Big Dog finished its investments in a new building and added 79 jobs when it had projected 40. But according to city documents, since then Big Dog has laid off 221 workers, The question raised by the new proposed city rules is that if property tax exemption extensions are denied to a company, would not other cities offer tax breaks to companies bringing their current employees.

13 Responses to “New Wichita City Rules Could Affect Big Dog Motorcycles”

  1. 1 Jeff Nicklus Dec 14th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I would find it very difficult to believe that there is not some form of a written contract between the City of Wichita and BDM in which these tax breaks were not clearly spelled out in detail and guaranteed. Sheldon is way to savvy to accept the “word” of a political entity as fact therefore, surely a contract exists. If an attorney overseeing the contract did in fact have an “oversight” in regards to the spelling out of the tax credits and the life of said tax credits then Sheldon needs to take his attorney out behind the building and kick the hell out of him for the oversight and then have the idiot pay for any deficient that BDM may experience. The city council cannot just arbitrarily “revoke” guaranteed contractual tax credits just because they need the additional revenue.

    Over & Out,


  2. 2 J Dec 14th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Very true, Jeff- just the sad state of community tax actions these days- typical unsophisticated city council member gets a wild hair, and the city attorney is just along for the ride- god forbid he should rise up against the herd with legal facts, because his job would then be in jeopardy, and if you gotta take the job as city attorney, you generally don’t have much of a backup plan…..

    I would think the wiser members of the council will prevail on Tuesday, otherwise Wichita can bid adios to quite a bit more revenue- no one NEEDS to stay in Witchita- lol.

  3. 3 A$$HOLE Dec 15th, 2009 at 4:30 am

    That is Wichita for you. Anything to constantly shoot the residents in the foot. They are trying this with all types of businesses right now. I cannot believe Sheldon did not have air tight mechanisms in place, but then again I am sure he never expected the city to revoke tax exemptions to an already struggling business in a deep recession. As for the lawyer who was in place when this was arranged, well he was laid off as well. I am sure they are scrambling to find the loop hole, and I figure since Sheldon has more money that the whole city of Wichita, he will make this work out to his favor in the end. For a city the size of Wichita, it is amazing the things they come up with to limit growth and prosperity. We recently spent like $100 million dollars to revamp the highway bridges/ overpasses at I-135 and 54, all 19 0f them, and the contract was awarded to Cornejo and Sons who employ a very vast majority of illegal immigrants. We just built a 15,000 seat coliseum in the heart of down town, while our 10,000 seat coliseum is going broke due to NO attendance, and our 7,500 seat arena is still years from breaking even. Then we forgot to include PARKING in the estimate of expenses when we passed the tax increase to build this new coliseum. Fucking unbelieveable.

  4. 4 Night Train Dec 15th, 2009 at 8:20 am

    don’t bite the hand that feeds you – Wichita bureaucrats are fed by hard working tax payers like BDM – ungreatful government

  5. 5 Woody Dec 15th, 2009 at 9:09 am

    It may not be that bad. Sounds like those clauses were built into the terms to allow the City to revoke the breaks in case of a boondoggle. If they didn’t look into the overall situation it might leave them open to problems with other businesses later. Hopefully they’ll take the unusual economy into consideration and rubber-stamp the existing conditions for a while longer and see what happens. Hopefully it’s just “due process” and things can move on.

  6. 6 cyclereckr Dec 15th, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    When have elected officials kept there word???

  7. 7 BD Dec 16th, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Typical goverment bull sh*t. What would serve them right is for BDM to say OK we are moving to another state then. See what taxes you collect from us now.. It is really too bad to see the people that tax payers put in office just day in and day out screwing those very same people that gave them their jobs

  8. 8 r seddon Dec 16th, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    This is from the Wichits Eagle on 12/16/2009

    Big Dog

    Council members voted on the Big Dog tax-break extension without knowing how bad things have gotten at the custom motorcycle manufacturer.

    When Big Dog qualified for tax abatements in 2003, it promised 40 new jobs. The company added 79, peaking in 2005 at 336.

    But the recession devastated sales of luxury cycles. The city report on Big Dog listed current employment at 115, but company vice president John Brock said only 30 to 40 people work there now.

    The company has shut down production and is selling down its warehouse inventory before making more bikes, Brock said. He said executives hope to ramp back up in the spring when demand for motorcycles will be higher.

    On Friday, Big Dog founder and CEO Sheldon Coleman announced that Big Dog had retained an investment banker to explore options for its future.

    Among the options are selling Big Dog, merging with another company or finding an investor willing to pump cash into the business in exchange for an equity share, the announcement said.

    Council members said they didn’t know about that when they considered the tax breaks.

    Skelton said he sees the company’s announcement as a critical fact the city should have known.

    “It’s embarrassing … if a decision is made and we find out something that was relevant later,” Skelton said.

    City Manager Bob Layton said he didn’t know about Big Dog’s announcement either, but it “wouldn’t have changed anything based on the criteria” for tax abatements.

    If the company changes hands, the costs and benefits to the city will be about the same as long as it continues its operation in Wichita, he said.

    The company’s tax-abatement extension passed 5-2 with Skelton and council member Jeff Longwell opposed.

    Longwell said he was convinced to vote no by an analysis showing that assisting Big Dog is costing the city $2.29 for every $1 of economic benefit.

    Read more:

  9. 9 Joel Dec 16th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    How come all Cyril’s readers know about the Big Dog troubles but not the Wichita City Council. Hypocrisy! Of course they know!

  10. 10 HotDogHotDiggityDog Dec 16th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Such nice bikes! Wish I had bought one instead of the heap Saxon Hot Rod Sceptre that I can’t get parts for!

  11. 11 AZMCSP Dec 16th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Hot Diggity. email me at AZMCSP@ ROCKETMAIL.COM. I’ll help you locate your parts.

  12. 12 AZMCSP Dec 18th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Sorry, Hot Diggity. Memory fart!! The email address is

  13. 13 mike Dec 21st, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    The city must be run by democrats

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Cyril Huze