Recently, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper published an editorial (written by the newspaper’s editors) against the Ark Encounter project here in northern Kentucky. This editorial had blatant error and was obviously meant to mislead people and misinform in an effort to discredit the Ark Encounter project and AiG in general.
This same editorial has been reprinted in at least two other newspapers.
AiG’s Chief Communications Officer, Mark Looy, has spent a lot of time writing responses to these error-laden articles/editorials and other pieces that have popped up around the country. It didn’t get much prominence in the Pittsburgh paper, and there was no retraction by the editors (I guess the editors don’t like being shown up for their agenda-driven, error-filled pieces), but at least Mark’s response was printed as a letter to the editor. Here is what Mark wrote:
Some basic research by the Post-Gazette would have revealed that its Dec. 29 editorial was incorrect in stating that Kentucky taxpayers would be subsidizing the operation of the Ark Encounter, a themed attraction featuring a full-size Noah’s Ark in northern Kentucky (“Biblical Outrage: Public Dollars May Go to a Creationist Theme Park,” Dec. 29).
In actuality, the only people to pay for the ark’s operation will be the Ark Encounter visitors, who will purchase tickets and also pay sales tax at the attraction. If the ark’s application is approved by the state, Kentucky will rebate a portion of the sales tax to the Ark Encounter LLC based on attendance performance.
In reality, the state’s coffers will benefit tremendously when the Ark Encounter opens. The part of the sales tax that the state will keep, plus payroll and property taxes collected from the 14,000 employees estimated to be working in the region at the Ark Encounter and at other new businesses generated, will be significant. The sales tax collected by the many local businesses created by the Ark Encounter’s ripple effect will also add revenue to the state treasury (e.g., from new hotels, gas stations, restaurants, etc.). A feasibility study by renowned researcher Britt Beemer estimates that 1.6 million people would visit the ark the first year.
Contrary to the Post-Gazette’s claim, the tax incentives will not be a grant out of state funds to help operate the Ark Encounter. No money will be taken from state programs (like education, which the paper suggested) to help build and/or operate the Ark Encounter.
Writing that “taxpayers will be on the hook” for the ark is simply untrue.
Chief Communications Officer
Answers in Genesis/The Creation Museum (partners in the Ark Encounter LLC)
Here is the link to the letters-to-the-editor page of the newspaper:
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