Kentucky ‘Creationist Theme Park’ To Receive 75 Percent Property Tax Discount

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A creationist theme park slated to be built in Kentucky has big ambitions, including erecting a full-size wooden ark, a walled city with plenty of outdoor parking. And now it’s set to receive a 75 percent property tax discount to do it.

The 75 percent property tax break will span the next 30 years, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Rick Skinner, the mayor of Williamstown — in Grant County, where the park will be built — said the offer will be followed by a formal deal in the coming months, according to the report. Skinner did not immediately return TPM’s requests for comment.Ark Encounter — a project of the Christian ministry Answers is Genesis — is slated to open in the spring of 2014, and the project has already been approved for $43 million in tax incentives.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) endorses the project, and according to a release announcing the plans, the project is expected to create 900 jobs and attract 1.6 million tourists in its first year. Interestingly, those numbers were based on a feasibility study, commissioned by Ark Encounters LLC, that state officials reportedly never actually saw.

Some critics of the project have raised concerns over the separation of church and state in the approval of tax incentives for the project. But as Gil Lawson, of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, told TPM on multiple occasions, the law establishing tax incentives is neutral.

“We cannot discriminate against this project based on any religious criteria,” he said back in May.

Read more here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He’s a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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