One of our clandestine operatives notified us of an editorial in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky. It’s titled No more state aid for Ark Park; Don’t endorse discriminatory hiring policy. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Kentucky has an unfortunate history of giving away money. So much so, that tax revenue given up in incentives and rebates now exceeds that collected. An especially unfortunate example of this is the Ark Encounter, approved for tax incentives three years ago but never launched.
You all know what they’re writing about. Our last post on the subject was Joy to the World — The Ark Is Approved. By the way, even if ol’ Hambo’s ark is built, it won’t be “launched” — it’ll be an ungainly, land-locked roadside attraction for drooling creationists. Back to the editorial:
It’s back now with a scaled-back version and has received preliminary approval for $18.25 million in tax incentives, or 25 percent of the total project cost, from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority.
But that’s not all ol’ Hambo will be getting. Let’s read on:
That’s in addition to the 75 percent break in property taxes over 30 years that the city of Williamstown has awarded the project, the $11 million interchange upgrade the state has agreed to at the KY-36 Williamstown exit off I-75, and the $200,000 the Grant County Industrial Development Authority gave to keep the project there, along with 100 acres of reduced-price land.
M’god — we’ve known about the road project, but the rest is news to us. The Lexington Herald-Leader continues:
Please, this has got to stop, as it should when the Tourism Development Finance Authority meets to consider final approval.
Wow! There may have been other Kentucky editorials like this, but we haven’t seen them. This could signal the start of a big change in public opinion. And they have even more reasons for objecting to all the state goodies. For example:
There have always been serious questions about whether granting tax incentives to a religious theme park violates the principle of separation of church and state, as Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo has asserted.
For news of that, which we haven’t written about, see Stumbo: State tax incentives for Noah’s Ark theme park violate constitution in that same newspaper from a few weeks ago. Back to the editorial:
But even that question is overshadowed by the recent news that the organization which gave rise to the project, Answers in Genesis, requires job applicants to profess that homosexuality is a sin, the Earth is 6,000 years old and the Bible is literally true.
We’re surprised that a Kentucky newspaper would editorialize about such things. It’s very courageous. Here’s one more excerpt, and then you can click over there to read the rest of the editorial for yourself:
The bottom line: Kentucky is willing to give up tax revenue to subsidize a project that will create few good jobs (218 of the 265 jobs projected will be part-time), that’s constitutionally questionable and that’s backed by an organization with discriminatory hiring practices.
We’re delighted. And we expect that ol’ Hambo will swiftly respond. He’ll be sputtering mad, foaming at the mouth, and furious at the “anti-God” newspaper. When that shows up — and it surely will — you may be sure that we’ll post about it. Stay tuned to this blog!
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