House Speaker Greg Stumbo is speaking out against using tax incentives for a Noah’s Ark Theme Park being built in Northern Kentucky.
Unconstitutional is how Speaker Stumbo described the state tax incentives for the Ark Experience.
The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority unanimously voted to give preliminary approval of up to $18.25 million dollars in tax breaks for the first phase of the park.
The $73 million dollars needed for construction and building materials must all be paid for through private funding.
State money would come in tax rebates after the park is already open.
“By the government offering this incentive, the state receives a net gain of millions of tax revenue dollars,” said Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, in a blog post.
The state cabinet said the park appears to be a good source of revenue for Kentucky.
“We're viewing it as a tourism project that will bring jobs to that state and generate revenue from ticket sales,” said Gil Lawson with the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
The Ark Experience is being put on by Answers in Genesis, the same group that started the Creation Museum in Boone County.
The group was fully approved for the tax incentives three years ago but withdrew its application.
This second application only got preliminary approval for the tax break.
A six to eight week study still has to be done to make sure the park meets all requirements for the incentives before final approval.
· The study includes making sure the park:
· Is at least a $1 million investment
· Will be open at least 100 days a year
· Attracts at least 25% out of state guests
· Has a net positive impact on the state budget
If approved, the park has the green light. It does not have to go to the General Assembly.