Kentucky Providing Tax Rebate to Fund Creationist Theme Park

June 01, 2011

The creationist organization Answers in Genesis is planning to construct a $150-$172 million theme park in northern Kentucky, themed around Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and other Biblical references. To support the project, "Ark Encounter," Kentucky is providing a sales tax rebate equal to 25% of the project's capital costs over 10 years, up to $43 million.

From Time magazine:

The proximity of state funds and religion is admittedly a bit dubious, but proponents of this project argue that the state will reap significant economic benefits, especially in terms of job creation.  According to Gov. Steve Beshear the park, "is projected to create 600 to 700 full-time jobs and have an economic impact of more than $250 million in its first year of operation."

Gil Lawson, of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, told Talking Points Memo the law establishing tax incentives is neutral. "We treated this application like any other," he said. "We cannot discriminate against this project based on any religious criteria."

The organization constructing the park also operates the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

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