A Kentucky city has agreed to give a staggering 75 percent property tax discount to a biblical theme park that will feature a full-size replica of Noah's Ark.
The tax breaks provided by the Grant County city of Williamstown would span 30 years,
That is in addition to the almost $200,000 already given to Ark Encounters LLC by the Grant County Industrial Development Authority.
In May, the state agreed to give the project $43 million in tax incentives over a 10-year period. Gov. Steve Beshear (D) supports the project because a feasibility study produced by Ark Encounters predicted they could create up to 900 jobs and bring in 1.6 million tourists during the first year alone.
But it turns out that Beshear never actually saw that study.
"The press release was a joint effort, and the Ark Encounter provided the numbers for the release based on their own research, much like how we work with companies on jobs announcements -- they give us the info about their job numbers and investment and we work together on a release," Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson told the Herald-Leader.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has threatened to sue.
"The state of Kentucky should not be promoting the spread of fundamentalist Christianity or any other religious viewpoint," Americans United executive director Rev. Barry W. Lynn told the paper.
The new ark theme park will be an offshoot of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, which is run by Answers in Genesis, a part owner of Ark Encounters LLC. The Creation Museum offers attractions based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, including that Earth was was created in six 24-hour days between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.
In addition to a life-sized replica of Noah's Ark with dinosaurs, the 800-acre park will feature a Tower of Babel, a petting zoo and other Bible-themed attractions.
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