To the Editor,

Congratulations are in order for your pro-business State Sen. Damon Thayer. Earlier this month, Sen. Thayer helped lead the effort to halt a proposed suspension of the Tourism Development Act (TDA). As a result, the TDA’s benefits will continue to encourage more tourist attractions to build in Kentucky.

Over the years, Sen. Thayer has witnessed the effectiveness of offering incentives to attractions if they come to Kentucky. The financial return for the state has been wonderful, and along the way, jobs have been created (and these new hires pay state/local taxes).

With the Ark Encounter north of Georgetown, Sen. Thayer has seen how this tourism act has produced another proven success for the region and Kentucky as a whole. The life-size ark could have been built in Indiana where two counties vied for it, but the TDA was a major reason we chose Kentucky. Hundreds of millions of Ark-related tourist dollars are now pouring into the state each year. About 98 percent of our Ark guests visit from outside Kentucky, and on many days, hotels and restaurants from Georgetown to Cincinnati are packed. On a weekday last week (a Tuesday), 5,000 visitors toured the Ark. The daily numbers will grow even higher when summer vacation begins.

Out-of-state guests who stay in Scott and Grant counties pay state sales tax as they book hotels and eat in local restaurants, which end up in the Kentucky treasury and benefit state programs. These tax dollars more than compensate for the sales tax rebate the Ark Encounter receives. The Tourism Development Act is a well-thought-out business incentive designed by Kentucky to draw tourist attractions, to the benefit of all Kentuckians.

We thank Sen. Thayer for beating back an effort to suspend the Tourism Development Act. The TDA is an exceptional pro-business, pro-Kentucky piece of legislation, and we applaud its defenders.

Ken Ham

President/CEO of the Ark Encounter

and Answers in Genesis

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