Friday, July 14, 2017

You Cannot Have It Both Ways!

Either you are a religious ministry, or you are a for-profit business, you cannot be both.

As we have discussed before, little kennie ham, the purveyor of the ark park, creation pseudo-museum, and Answer in Genesis ministries, is whining about a $0.50 tax on his ark park tickets, a tax that will be used to upgrade Grant County emergency services -- services he may one day need, if he hasn't used them already.  We are talking police, fire, an ambulance services . . ..  He's asked for, and so far been refused, a religious exemption from the tax.  He's hinting at a lawsuit.

Since the whole purpose of the ark park is religious, I agree he should be exempt from the tax . . . . however . . . and you just knew there was going to be a however.

However, his ark park does a 60% rebate on sales tax collected from the ark park among other incentives -- incentives for being a for-profit business . . . incentives not available to non-profit religious ministries.  The sales tax rebate was applied for and approved because the ark park is a for-profit business.  If it's just the ticket prices, and with each ticket costing $40, that's means the 6% sales tax collect for each ticket is $2.40.  Since the unofficial reports put little kennie's ark park drawing in just under 1 million visitors in it's first year, that means he's collected just under $2.4 million dollars in sales tax.  His 60% rebate will net him $1.44 million dollars of that.  That's just on ticket prices.  If it's also on all the food and novelty items sold, that number could be considerable higher.

But that's not all his for-profit park received (from: What Ken Ham Isn’t Telling You About Ark Encounter Funding):

  • The majority of Ark Encounter is being funded by an interest-free Taxed Incremental Funding grant from the City of Williamstown, Kentucky. On November 1, 2012, a Memorandum of Agreement (begins on page 55) approving $62 million in funding for Ark Encounter, LLC was signed by officials of Williamstown and the County of Grant.  
    • It said that, over a 30-year period, 75% of Ark Encounter’s real estate taxes would go toward repayment of the interest-free TIF. 
    • So instead of that money going to the city (and the citizens), it’ll be used to repay those bonds.
    • You can view the bond issued by The City of Williamstown to Ark Encounter here and here.
  • All employees working within the TIF district (that is, Ark Encounter) will pay a 2% job assessment fee on gross wages. In other words, $2 out of every pre-tax $100 dollars you make will go directly to paying off the for-profit Noah’s Ark attraction.
  • According to Section VIII of the Memorandum of Agreement, in addition to the $62 million, the city and county agreed to other incentives (courtesy of local taxpayers):
    • $175,000 would be given to Ark Encounter to reimburse the amount they felt the property was overvalued.
    • $19,000 would go to Ark Encounter’s real estate agent, representing 2% of the total purchase price of the land.
    • 98 acres of Grant County land would be sold to Ark Encounter for $1 (yes, one dollar).
So, in my opinion, grant kennie his exemption for the emergency services tax, but pull any and all public support for his ministry, including the sales tax rebate.  It's a simple issue, either the ark park is a religious ministry and deserves the exemption or it is a for-profit business and deserves the various incentives.

If little kennie wants to keep all those other incentives and tax breaks, then he should also stop discriminating from local citizens when it comes to hiring.  He promised thousands of jobs, and while he has added several hundred, they only go to people who believe the same foolishness as little kennie.  That's called discrimination and should not be allowed by a public for-profit business who is receiving state and local incentives!

So little kennie 'Marie Antoinette' ham, you cannot have it both ways.  Are you a for profit business or are you a non-profit ministry?

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