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Ark Encounter receives
$1.8 million tax rebate
The state of Kentucky will give Ark Encounter
$1.825 million as part of a tourism-related tax rebate
The state of Kentucky will give Ark Encounter $1.825 million as part of a tourism-related tax rebate, notes Patheos.
The money comes from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority, which said in 2014 that the Ark was eligible for the program allowing tourist attractions to retain 25% of the sales tax collected for things like tickets, souvenirs, and food over the first decade of business.
In Ark Encounterís case, based on estimated sales and other factors, that made them eligible for up to $18.25 million over that time.
Answers in Genesis had to fight to get any of it. Thatís because the rebate was designed for for-profit businesses that play by the rules.
Ark Encounter, however, was a Christian ministry that required employees to agree to their Statement of Faith (which says the universe is only a few thousand years old and gay people canít get married).
A lawsuit was filed over it, but U.S. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove ruled in 2016 that Ark Encounter couldnít be excluded from the rebate program over their religious beliefs.
As long as they were bringing tourists to the state, the judge said, they ought to be eligible for the money.
The rebate was then suspended this past summer. Thatís because Ken Ham, in an effort to avoid paying a local safety fee worth $0.50-per-ticket, "sold" the for-profit Ark Encounter to a non-profit ministry he also runs, Patheos reminds in its story.
But then he sold the Ark back to his for-profit business, and the tax rebate was reinstated.