Ken Ham’s Ticket Tax Crisis

A few months ago we wrote City Wants To Tax Ken Ham’s Ticket Sales. The city of Williamstown wanted to impose a “safety assessment” tax of 50 cents for every admission ticket sold by Hambo’s Ark Encounter, and Hambo was upset.

We have the latest news about the situation from the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky, the second-largest city in the state, and they have a comments section. Their headline is Williamstown plans to reject Noah’s Ark tax exemption request. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

The city of Williamstown plans to reject a request from the Ark Encounter claiming exemption from a recently implemented safety assessment tax on the grounds that it is a religious entity, the Grant County News reports.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The city is correct. As stated in AIG’s Complaint Against Kentucky, which they filed in their effort to receive potentially millions of dollars in sales tax rebates, Ark Encounter, LLC is a for-profit company, which is owned by Crosswater Canyon, Inc., a 501(c)(3) religious non-profit corporation, and Answers in Genesis, Inc., (Hambo’s creationist ministry) owns Crosswater Canyon. Okay, back to the news story:

The tax collects a 50-cent charge on tickets in admission-based businesses within the city of Williamstown, and currently affects only three businesses: the Ark Encounter, Williamstown Family Fun Park and Main Street Gardens. … The tax does not apply to non-profit, religious, and charitable events and organizations.

Ark Encounter doesn’t qualify for any of those exemptions. The newspaper says:

The city plans to use revenue collected from the fee to fund upgraded emergency response equipment to better serve Williamstown’s needs as a growing tourist destination. The city’s budget estimates $715,000 in revenue from the safety assessment fee, which begins collecting from the three businesses on a monthly basis beginning July 1.

Egad — collection starts tomorrow! We’re told:

About $700,000 of the projected revenue is from the Ark Encounter, based on the projected 1.4 million in attendance at the tourist attraction. Representatives from the Ark Encounter initially said they would request an exemption from the fee if the city intended to collect more than $350,000 from the business, according to Williamstown Mayor Rick Skinner.

What’s the basis for the requested exemption? Here it comes:

According to the letter sent by John E. Pence, secretary general [What?] for Answers in Genesis, the Ark Encounter was organized exclusively for religious purposes, and is solely owned and operated by Crosswater Canyon, a Kentucky non-profit corporation which is recognized as a tax-exempt religious organization and public charity under Section 501(c)(3) religious organizations and public charity.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:

Answers in Genesis co-founder and chief communications officer Mark Looy said that visitors to the Ark Encounter clearly recognize it as a religiously run attraction with a religious purpose, and that the organization filed the appeal because they feel the business should be exempt. “We simply applied for the exemption that is allowed under the specific wording of the safety assessment fee ordinance as it was adopted, as you would expect other exempted organizations to do,” Looy said.

Are they fooling anyone? Apparently not. We’re told:

[Williamstown Mayor] Skinner and the other Williamstown City Council members voiced their disagreement with the exemption request; with councilman Kim Crupper noting that the Ark Encounter operates on a for-profit status. City Attorney Jeff Shipp said the organization’s corporate filings in Missouri indicate that they are a for-profit corporation. Shipp said he would craft a formal response to the appeal sometime in the coming week. “We’ve done our research … and everything that we have found is that they are a for-profit company,” Skinner said.

Yes, but Hambo is the holiest man in the world. Why can’t he have it both ways? Another excerpt:

Looy said that even though the Ark Encounter is established as a for-profit subsidiary of Crosswater Canyon, the Ark Encounter is a religious organization, and therefore qualifies for the exemption.

Oh. It isn’t, but it is. That makes sense. Here’s one last excerpt:

Answers in Genesis Co-Founder Mike Zovath met with Skinner on June 27 to discuss solutions to the issue, but no agreement was reached. … Skinner said the council plans to discuss the issue at their July 10 meeting, and added that representatives from the Ark Encounter will likely attend to present their case.

So we’ve got a cliff-hanger. Will Hambo win? Can he have a for-profit corporation that qualifies for a non-profit religious exemption? Stay tuned to this blog!

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

16 responses to “Ken Ham’s Ticket Tax Crisis

  1. Awesome. If it’s for profit they have to pay the tax. If it’s religious the good people of Kentucky can sue to have the 18 million in tax incentives revoked.

  2. Even better, this will give some insight into exactly how many visitors the Ark is getting. I suspect it’s much lower than the million+ Ham claims.

  3. “The city plans to use revenue collected from the fee to fund upgraded emergency response equipment to better serve Williamstown’s needs as a growing tourist destination.”

    Surely this is a good thing? But, no, not according to the world’s most Christian man. Oh no, he needs the money for more anamotronic displays, or longer zip wires. Oh no, spending money on upgrading emergency response equipment, why it’s almost Satanic.

    As usual, Ken Ham shows he believes in only one true god, the one called $$$$.

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    Why should I visit a tourist attraction with inadequate emergency services? If they don’t pay the tax, then they should provide their own private on-site services.

  5. Ironic how the presumably most flammable object in the entire region doesn’t want to contribute to fire safety.

    Those thick beams surely don’t catch fire that fast, but once they do, your local sprinkler installation is out of a job.

  6. Dave Luckett

    But… but… I thought that Ark Encounter Ltd was a scientific account of the facts! Now he’s telling me it’s a religious foundation? Oh, what’s a poor believer to believe?

  7. Meanwhile, at a real museum–supported by UK taxpayers, but I’m happy about that–the Natural History Museum in London offers The rock that records how we all got here

  8. As Homer Stokes said, “Is you is or is you ain’t..?”

  9. docbill1351

    The Ark of the Crock Encounter is a building that looks like a fictional boat filled with sideshow-quality posters and plastic animals. On top of that dreariness, it doesn’t *do* anything. Initially there will be a bunch of fool-me-once visitors, but nobody is going to be fool-me-twice. I gave the Ark Crock a year to sink, but it may flotsam and jetsam itself a while longer.

  10. Ross Cameron

    Doesn`t Hambo believe his bible that the Lord will provide? It`s sprinkled all through both the OT and the NT. Does this mean he doesn`t believe the verses and is just another con-man?

  11. Is he claiming that he is operating a “for profit religion”?

  12. Dave Luckett

    No, he’s not claiming he is operating a “for profit religion”, because that would offend the marks, but that is in fact the very thing that Ham is doing.

    It is in fact a separate religion – Ham is his own prophet, as well as profit, and he has no affiliation with any other religious group, wild and woolly as they may be. AiG is a religious foundation all on its own. Probably the main reason for this is that if Ham associated with anybody else, he’d have to cut them in for a share of the money and authority. Most religious schisms arise from such motivations, not from any doctrinal difference.

  13. wigglyhashashin7777

    Guess its no Disney world or Canada s wonderland for that matter

  14. If a non-profit owns a for-profit, what does the non-profit do with the profits that the for-profit makes?

  15. @alan… they launder them, of course

  16. @Paul S

    “If it’s religious the good people of Kentucky can sue to have the 18 million in tax incentives revoked.”

    I am sure that Ken Ham would be well justified in feeling quite safe and secure in the bosom of the current Kentucky Republican gubernatorial administration, the same one that immediately decided as soon as it entered office not to contest the Ark Encounter’s suit against the state’s earlier decision not to allow its participation in the Kentucky Tourism Development Program (sales tax rebates) on the basis of their discriminatory hiring practices (YEC fanatics only).

    Governor Bevin will protect Ham from the Mayor of Williamstown, the tax payers be damned.