[Editor’s Note: This news item has been updated as of February 16, 2012, to reflect the current status of the Ark Encounter project.]
As reported nationwide this past week in a syndicated Associated Press article picked up by dozens of newspapers and websites, the Ark Encounter themed attraction is tentatively scheduled to break ground in a few weeks.
In addition to a full-size Noah’s Ark, the Ark Encounter has planned other phases that include a replica of the Tower of Babel, a first-century village, and other attractions.
In addition to a full-size Noah’s Ark, the Ark Encounter has planned other phases that include a replica of the Tower of Babel, a first-century village, and other attractions. Designed by Answers in Genesis (host of this News to Note feature), most of the Ark Encounter will be financed by private equity in an LLC, while the cost of the Ark itself will be funded by AiG through donations and boarding pass sales. Thanks to Kentucky’s excellent program of tax incentives designed to promote the development of tourism in the state, the project will be located in the northern part of the state and in the same region as AiG’s Creation Museum.
While the AP article was accurate, it would have been more complete and less confusing to the reader if the piece explained the nature of the tax incentives. Most readers* will jump to a wrong conclusion that the Ark Encounter will take money from the state budget and thus is taxpayer funded. In reality, the only taxpayer involved is the person who chooses to visit the Ark and pays sales tax there (e.g., on tickets, food, etc.), and if the Ark reaches certain attendance milestones, then a part of the collected sales tax will be rebated to the Ark. In the end, the state will see added revenue because of the Ark Encounter’s presence in Kentucky, not only because of the sales tax it will retain, but also through the revenue generated by new businesses and new jobs the Ark will help create in the region. (See this article for details on the funding of the project: Taxpayers Will Not Be Paying to Build the Ark Encounter.)
*Indeed, the very first posting to our hometown newspaper’s website which offered comment on this AP article revealed the confusion such a piece can create: “I also don't understand how public tax money can be used for the promotion of this kind of religious agenda.”
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