We know Creationist Ken Ham is suing Kentucky officials because he claims they’re discriminating against his faith by revoking a tax subsidy worth up to $18,000,000.
He doesn’t seem to be aware of how he’s the one in the wrong because his for-profit business (the Ark Encounter theme park) was recruiting employees who were required to sign a statement of faith. You can receive tax rebates from the state or you can discriminate in hiring. Not both.
So it’s clear: Ham misunderstands the situation even though he’s right at the center of it. To make things worse, he’s been up in arms over atheists who say he’s asking the state for money to help him build his Noah’s Ark theme park — because he says that’s not the case at all.
In fact, he claimed last month that atheists like the folks at the Freedom From Religion Foundation were “spreading misinformation and outright untruths.”
FFRF Legal Fellow Katherine Paige doesn’t want to let that charge stand, so she has laid out exactly what the legal problem is between Kentucky officials and Answers in Genesis, making it very clear that she knows exactly what’s going on:
The Kentucky Tourism Development Act provides a state sales tax subsidy intended to develop tourist attractions. The program allows new and expanding tourist attractions, like theme parks, to recover up to 25% of the attraction’s development cost over a 10-year term. This is achieved by giving the attraction’s developers a rebate on the sales taxes the attraction generates.
This is a performance-based incentive, so the more business the project generates, the more money it can receive in rebates (up to 25% of the initial project cost). The “first phase” of Ark Encounter is projected to cost $78 million; hence the roughly $18 million in anticipated tax incentives.
Okay, Ken. Are we on the same page? We understand that the state is not handing Ark Encounter an $18 million check prior to the construction of the park.
Kentucky is doing no more than holding Answers in Genesis and Ark Encounter to the same standards as every other applicant to the tax incentive program. If the government is to provide your company with a subsidy to bring jobs and tourism to the community, you cannot discriminate.
You should read her whole writeup here. (And stick around for the hilarious gif on the page.)
Ham loves to misrepresent his opponents even when they have the facts on their side. (It’s a habit with him.) But, in this case, there’s no question that FFRF knows what’s going on while Ham is still in the dark.