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!
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