Ark Park’s Ken Ham Wants Courts, Not Bevin, To Restore Tax Incentives

Nov 12, 2015

Ark Encounter CEO Ken Ham wants courts to restore $18 million in Ky tax breaks rather than asking Gov. Elect Bevin authorize them.
Credit Ryland Barton / Kentucky Public Radio

Representatives of a religious ministry constructing a replica of Noah’s Ark in Williamstown, KY say they’re not asking Gov.- elect Matt Bevin to restore tax incentives for the project. Instead, Answers in Genesis wants courts to rule on whether Gov. Steve Beshear was allowed to revoke the incentives in the first place.

Last year, Beshear and the secretary of Kentucky’s tourism cabinet revoked $18 million in tax incentives that had been promised to Answers in Genesis, the ministry constructing the 510-foot-long Ark Encounter between Lexington and Cincinnati.

The project hires workers based on their religious backgrounds, and state officials said that meant it couldn’t receive public money. The organization then sued the state, saying that it was unfairly discriminated against under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

CEO Ken Ham says a ruling on the lawsuit is imminent. “I think it’s really good that it’s in the courts and let a judge make the decision on the basis of the law.”

Ham says Ark Encounter will open to visitors July 7, 2016.