The Ark Encounter, a Noah’s Ark-centered “edu-tainment” theme park to be built in Northern Kentucky, has faced repeated attacks since December when Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced plans for its construction. One of the more egregious examples of bad reporting appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The editors claimed it was “outrageous” to divert money budgeted for Kentucky’s schools to “help fund” the Ark Encounter and to put taxpayers “on the hook” for the Ark’s cost.
What’s the truth? The construction of the Ark Encounter will be paid for entirely by private funding. Once it opens, visitors will pay sales tax while at the attraction, and the state will rebate a portion of those taxes if attendance milestones are met.
In May, a Kentucky tourism authority unanimously approved the rebate, which brought howls of protest from Ark opponents and rumors of a possible lawsuit.
The state would not be collecting any sales tax if the Ark Encounter moved to another state. Moreover, Kentucky would lose several hundred workers from the Ark Encounter and thousands of other jobs at businesses created by the attraction—jobs which, in turn, will generate more sales tax and payroll tax revenue for the state.
The real outrage is how the media can misreport the truth when they don’t like the facts.