Reuters is reporting that the AiG-fronted Ark Encounter project has lost the tax incentives it so desperately wanted for the construction of the life-sized (but not necessarily biblically-based) Noah's Ark. Steve Bittenbender writes:
Kentucky has pulled potential tax credits for a proposed Noah's Ark-based theme park, telling the developer on Wednesday that the plans had evolved from a tourist attraction into a ministry seeking to advance religion.
State tourism officials had given preliminary approval for tax incentives of potentially more than $18 million over 10 years for the Ark Encounter park slated to open in 2016, but later warned the park's parent company, Answers in Genesis, that it could lose them if it hired only people who believed in the biblical flood.
Nobody has yet been hired but it is pretty clear that the tourism board became uncomfortable when the hiring dust-up occurred and finally just got cold feet. Mike Zovath says that the project will continue but chief counsel Mike Johnson was quoted as saying this “will be a huge financial loss to the organization.” I can only guess that this decision, which the Ark Encounter may fight in court, will have a large effect on the sale of the junk bonds to finance the undertaking. This is a huge win for opponents of the project.
Ironically, this comes on the heels of a huge ad campaign to promote the project, including billboards in Times Square. Here is a YouTube video of the 15-second ad clip: