No tax break for Ark Encounter

A proposed Noah’s ark theme park in northern Kentucky won’t get about $18 million in state tax incentives, said a Dec. 10 letter from the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the letter said Ark Encounter intends to discriminate in hiring based on religion. The state’s development authority gave preliminary approval in July but wanted written assurances on nondiscriminatory hiring practices.

“State tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination or otherwise be used to advance religion,” Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart wrote. “The use of state incentives in this way violates the separation of church and state provisions of the Constitution and is therefore impermissible.”

FFRF contested the proposal from the start and asked its members on Dec. 12 to write Gov. Steve Beshear and Stewart to thank them for standing up for the rights of non-Christians. Evangelist Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis, the park’s developer, wants to keep 25% of the sales tax it collects for 10 years. Ham said he’s considering a lawsuit now.

Freedom From Religion Foundation