. . . and tax breaks for this execrable exhibit, which presents the Ark as fact, are the same as taxpayers’ funding of the park. A new alert from the Freedom from Religion Foundation says this:
The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority is expected to give approval tomorrow (Tuesday, July 29) of major tax incentives for a proposed $172.5 million Noah’s Ark theme park in Grant County.
Ark Encounter is a project of Answers in Genesis, which describes itself as an “apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ,” and which created the Creation Museum in Boone County about 40 miles away. The museum’s founder, Ken Ham, famously debated Bill Nye earlier this year. “God has burdened AiG to rebuild a full-size Noah’s Ark,” Ham wrote on his website.
The plan calls for a 510-foot wooden ark , reportedly to cost $24.5 million alone, as part of the 800-acre Ark Encounter park to open partially constructed in summer 2016. As of February, the group had only raised $14.4 million. The park is also to include a “pre-flood themed area,” live animal shows and a “Tower of Babel” featuring a theatre and “first-century village.”
A Kentucky program allows eligible tourism attractions a 25% rebate on sales tax collected for such items as admission tickets, food, souvenirs, etc., over a ten-year period. The rebate might total as much as $18.25 million.
If the tourism board votes yes Tuesday, as expected, final approval would be sought within two months. The state first granted preliminary approval in 2011 for up to $43.1 million in sales tax rebates over 10 years, with Gov. Steve Beshear’s very open blessings. Answers in Genesis withdrew the appication after funding delays and has had to reapply.
Public help has already included a $62 million municipal bond offered from the city of Williamstown, where the park is to be located. Bloomberg News reported that tourist attractions have defaulted on such bonds as Williamstown offered, with the added risk of legal challenges based on the state/church entanglement.
This of course means the State of Kentucky is not only in the religion business, but is forcing its citizens to subsidize telling lies to children.
If you’d like to protest, the FFRF has contact information (I’ve corrected their email link, which is the easiest way to protest). You will, of course, be most effective if you’re a resident of Kentucky, but if you have two minutes to write a short email, it might be worthwhile.
Office of the Secretary24th Floor, Capital Plaza Tower500 Mero StreetFrankfort, Kentucky 40601(502) 564-4270