Based on were they want their money spent, at any rate. From Forbes:
In one of the most spectacularly mis-prioritized state budgets in recent memory, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D), is suggesting over $50 million in cuts to education – while preserving $43 million in tax breaks for the Ark Encounter, a creationist amusement park centered around a life-sized Noah’s Ark. The park is sponsored by Answers In Genesis, a non-profit organization that promotes a “literalist” interpretation of the Book of Genesis while promoting an anti-evolution (and other sciences) agenda.
There are a number of reasons why this is a bad idea.
Oh my non-existent god, are there ever. The author, Alex Knapp, hit on a few. Cuts to education only work if previous work has been done to reform the system first so standards can still be met even with less funding. Apparently that’s not the case here. Plus, the park is a luxury more than it is a necessity.
in a time of austerity, surely it makes most sense to eliminate wasteful subsidies first, rather than essential public services. Especially subsidies that are of dubious value to begin with, whether its this “Ark Park” or a football stadium.
I add a link because I didn’t know what he meant. Austerity is an economics term, a policy intended for cutting spending and increasing taxes in order to decrease debt. Public services often face cuts when governments go this route and education falls under that, unfortunately.
I agree on the “dubious value” of a creationist theme park (anywhere, not just Kentucky), but I suppose Kentucky is assuming the tourism dollars will make it worthwhile? Knapp notes that the move to give them a tax break is close to crossing a line – maintaining separation of church and state. P.Z. Meyers notes that a further $11 million is going toward infrastructure: “highway improvements for the Ark Park” itself. Hopefully properties other than the Ark Park benefit from that little windfall. That cash isn’t going towards their personal driveway and parking lot, right? Right?
Quoting Friendly Atheist now because he’s so succinct:
In summary, Governor Beshear has basically used $54,000,000 of taxpayer money to help the Biblical Ark Park. And he took $50,000,000 away from the education budget.
In other words, the Governor just took away $100,000,000 that could have gone toward educating people.
There’s no real education to be found at Ark Encounter. Mythology treated as fact is
what they offer. Mythology as entertainment is one thing, and probably a fun thing, but this gets sold as if it’s more true than anything science has taught humanity about our origins and existence. Add to that a government essentially encouraging this business to continue unabated and it equals a very serious problem for the future. It’s a pity education has to take a hit just so this junk heap can stay afloat.