Ken Ham Won’t Like This Editorial

Last week we wrote Ken Ham’s Ticket Tax Crisis. As you recall, the city of Williamstown plans to impose a “safety assessment” tax of 50 cents for every admission ticket sold by Ark Encounter, the bizarre, land-locked “replica” of Noah’s Ark, the biblical tourist attraction run by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia.

Hambo has been claiming that his operation should be exempt, because the tax doesn’t apply to non-profit, religious, and charitable events and organizations. However, the city is well aware that Ark Encounter is a for-profit corporation.

Now there’s an editorial about the situation in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky, the second-largest city in the state. It’s titled One tax break too far for Ark Park, and they have a comments section. Here are some excerpts from the editorial, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

It should be quite a show Monday evening when representatives from the Ark Encounter, incorporated in Missouri as a for-profit corporation, explain to the Williamstown city council how it should be exempt from a tax because it is really a non-profit religious organization.

Yes, we’re all looking forward to it. Then the editorial says:

The Ark Encounter, after all, is such a good show that it attracted 1.4 million visitors — at prices ranging from $16 for a child to $30 per adult, $34 to $60 if you add in the nearby Creation Museum — in its first year of operation.

We’ve seen various estimates of the number of visitors Hambo’s ark has attracted. We won’t know the real number until they apply for the sales tax kick-back the state is allowing them — see Ken Ham’s Ark Will Get State Tax Funds. Okay, back to the editorial:

With the onslaught of visitors, city leaders recognized a need to beef up emergency-response capacity and so levied a tax of 50 cents per ticket on for-profit admission-based businesses. There are only three and Ark Encounter is by far the largest, with the city estimating it will account for about $700,000 of the $715,000 anticipated from the tax.

Hambo seems to be causing the need for emergency services, so why shouldn’t he pay for it? Silly question! Hambo is the holiest man in the world who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He’s on a mission to save us from the godless lie of evolution and millions of years, so he shouldn’t have to pay for anything. The editorial continues:

Even though the city’s emergency services must respond to accidents at the park — which in addition to tours of a very large stationary boat billed as a replica of Noah’s Ark, includes a zipline tour, camel rides and a petting zoo — park officials said they were “blindsided” by the new tax.

Here’s the best part. The editorial describes all the tax goodies Hambo’s ark has already received:

Ark Encounter has benefited from a boatload of taxpayer subsidies — a state [sales] tax rebate of up to $18 million over 10 years plus an expanded interchange at the I-75 exit that cost about $10 million, $62 million in city-issued junk bonds, a rebate of the 2-percent city payroll tax on all employees, a special local tax-increment financing district that requires the city to return 75 percent of property-tax revenue increases, an outright gift of $175,000 and 100 acres of land by the Grant County Industrial Authority.

Not enough! Hambo wants free emergency services too. Here’s the end of the editorial:

The council must hold firm, as it has signaled it plans to do. Faith may move mountains, but it will not provide reliable emergency services for a million-plus visitors each year.

Can you imagine Hambo’s reaction? He’ll be red in the face, foaming at the mouth, and rolling around chewing the carpet. How dare those godless journalists oppose his desires? This is an outrage!

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

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16 responses to “Ken Ham Won’t Like This Editorial

  1. Good on Williamstown. It’s not like Hammy can sail his boat out of town.

  2. Those tax rebates, TIF funds, city-issued junk bonds, free cash, and free land are just a theory! Honest Ol’ Ken swears he didn’t get a cent of money from the gubmint — not a cent — and I believe that Man of God.

  3. Who wants to bet that his attendance numbers for the past year will suddenly go down drastically?

    But then, that would kinda screw him over with the state, eh?

  4. Putting it in monetary terms, the Kentucky sales tax is 6%, and Hambo’s kick-back from the state is a quarter of that. An adult ticket for the ark is $40. It’s less for seniors and kids. Okay, take an adult ticket. Sales tax is $2.40. The state kick-back to Hambo is a quarter of that, or sixty cents — less for seniors and kids.

    Now the city wants fifty cents per ticket for the safety tax. In practical terms, the city tax is almost equal to the sales tax rebate Hambo had to fight so hard to get.

  5. Hambo could avoid paying for emergency services by providing them himself. For instance, he could hire his own security service; hire, train and equip his own fire department and life squad; build, staff and equip his own emergency medical services building; and finally, convert one of the animal cages on his ark into a brig to hold any unruly, non-believing visitors.

    the Ark Encounter — the country’s first and only non-profit for profit organization.

  6. Doctor Stochastic

    He’s really is a non-profit organization, contrary to his intentions.

  7. I like the picture from the paper’s story. I counted maybe 23 people strolling in on ark opening day, no massive crowd to compete with was visible. hmm.

  8. Impious city of Williamstown! Don’t they realise that so holy an endeavour will never need to call on the emergency services that it is so unjustly being asked to pay for?

  9. “at prices ranging from $16 for a child to $30 per adult” $28 for a child to $40 per adult.

  10. @RSG You have a good point. For example there are some municipalities that have water, sewer and trash collection as part of their property taxes. While churches/non-profits typically don’t pay taxes, why should they get such a tangible benefit?
    Emergency services are also a tangible benefit, I suppose if Hambo wins the lawsuit and gets his services for free, they could turn the tables and just require he contract emergency services himself.

  11. @Troy — …and the Ark Brig could actually become a popular attraction!

  12. Finally the good folks from Kentucky wake up – better late than never.

  13. Well, you see, the Ark Encounter doesn’t NEED emergency services. Ken simply prays over any injured guests. Between Ken’s faith and the faith of the visitors they will be healed. And the Ark itself is protected from fire and flood by the very hand of the the Lord Jesus Himself.

    What? That’s not how it works? Must not have enough faith. PRAY HARDER, KEN! PRAY HARDER! In the meantime let’s hope Williamstown will hold fast and get that extra tax. And let’s hope Hamster DOES add that fee to the ticket prices. Every nickel helps keep people away from this joke.

  14. The population of Williamstown is about 4,000. The 1,400,000 visitors coming to the area to see Ham’s park is a huge extra burden on the town.
    Even if Ham provides security and emergency services for the park, that still doesn’t help Williamstown handle all that extra traffic. A fifty-cent ticket tax is totally fair, and doesn’t have to cost Ham a thing. It’s an add-on, just like a sales tax.

    Frankly, Ham should be charged a 100% sales tax on each ticket, with the proceeds going to local school districts to help alleviate the damage he’s doing to science education.

  15. Actually there hasn’t been any extra burden on the town. (It is also a problem because they aren’t selling Shem-dogs) The town is only a few miles away, but it might as well be in the next state. The problem for the town is that I-75 is everything an Ark rube is likely to see.
    The Ark itself only requires a couple of hours to see it, no hotel room required for at least 50% or more of visitors. (I’m debating going, because I know it won’t be around much longer.)

  16. Charles Deetz ;)

    The for-profit non-profit, a perfect example of the cognitive dissonance power of a creationist. And of a greedy conservative.