Kentucky approves tax incentives for Noah's Ark park, again

Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014 9:26 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A group that wants to build a Noah's Ark theme park in Grant County won preliminary approval Tuesday of state tax incentives of as much as $18.25 million to keep the controversial project afloat.

Read more from The Herald-Leader.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:31 AM

What a conundrum...the "small government thinkers" significantly overlap the Fundamentalist Christian crowd. To spend or not to spend...esp. when something so blatantly flies in the face of *separation of Church and State.*

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:32 AM

Noah pun intended. lol

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:46 AM

I assume this isn't a non-profit though, right? Otherwise they wouldn't be looking for a tax break. Seems like a gray area to me.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:07 PM

From the article:

[co-founder Zovath] said the state finance authority previously had granted tax incentives to Newport on the Levee, a retail and entertainment center in Newport.

"By doing that, the state is not sponsoring the acts and speeches of stand-up comedians who perform there. They're not sponsoring that any more than they are sponsoring what goes on at the Ark Encounter," Zovath said.

There's a difference between what is clearly entertainment, and what is clearly anti-science. The first can at least be argued as enriching society. The latter just makes people ignorant.

That's not to say religion and faith don't enrich society, but religion and faith are not what this park is about, clearly.

Imagine for a moment Steven Spielberg asking for tax money to build a park that aims to convince people that E.T. was a documentary.

"This is purely an economic issue. This thing is going to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, $180 million in the first year of operation for the surrounding area."

I guess that's why investors are lining up with their checkbooks.

Last edited by djDaemon, Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:09 PM
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:31 PM

There's a difference between a tax incentive, which could lessen the tax burden on the park, and actually using tax dollars to help fund the park. The latter case would be much closer to violating the 1st Amendment, but the net effect might be similar.

The legal issue and the moral issue are two separate things, with the moral issue being the promotion of the story of Noah's Ark and the Great Flood as actual historical events, as djDaemon alluded to. The best way to fight against something like this is to simply not patronize their business.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:31 PM

I just can't agree with Mr Zovath's logic.

Look, he says, Newport on the Levee was granted tax incentives, but that doesn't mean the state is sponsoring the acts that appear there. See? No difference between what Newport on the Levee does and what Noah's Ark will do. So please give us some of that nice taxpayer money.

Except that Newport on the Levee is an entertainment complex with no religious affiliation or overtone.

Noah's Ark park, on the other hand, derives its theme from a specific faith, and by Mr Zovath's admission, will "present the Gospel".

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 4:36 PM

And not even a broader belief system, but a very specific faith as not all Christian religions are creationists.

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