Wednesday, December 10, 2014

No State Tax Incentives for the Ark Park - A Sensible Middle Position

The Answers in Genesis ministry, parent of the Creation Museum, had proposed a few years ago to create an Ark Park theme park, based on Noah's Ark, in central Kentucky.

Gov. Beshear supported the proposal as a good tourism draw for the state.  He caught some flack from the left for that position.  I think he was entirely in the right.

Now, though, the state Tourism Commission has withdrawn the offer of $18 million in tax incentives from the Ark Park.  They say that the sponsors have changed their position.  Originally, Answers in Genesis said they would not have a religious test for hiring at the park.  Recently, though, they have made clear that they would have a religion test for hiring.

The state's position is clear: tax incentives can't be used to advance a particular religion, nor discriminate on the basis of religion.

Answers in Genesis claims that their religious freedom will be violated if they can't both have a religious test in hiring and get state tax incentives.

I believe the state is, once again, correct in its judgment.

I also had my doubts that the Ark Park could ever succeed, but that is beside the principled point here.