The Holy Land Experience, a Christian theme park in Orlando modeled after Jerusalem, is advertising a free day of admission. But rather than an act of generosity or a desperate attempt to get anyone through the doors, Orlando Weekly notes that this is also a way for the money-sucking attraction to retain its tax-free status:
Typically admission is $50, but on Jan. 31 the Holy Land Experience, which is owned by the Trinity Broadcasting Network, will be free on a first-come, first-admitted basis.
Though some years there are multiple free days, the Holy Land Experience must have at least one per year to qualify for a 2006 law (signed by former Gov. Jeb Bush) that says that the theme park is exempt from paying any property tax because they display biblical artifacts.
Since 2006, it’s estimated that the amusement park has dodged at least $2.2 million in property taxes.
Something-something-“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”-something.
The irony in all this is that they’re still losing millions more per year because TBN is no longer funneling money to them. They had $2.5 million in contributions or grants in 2014, which dipped to $2.2 million in 2015, which plummeted to a mere $384,000 in 2016, the last year for which we have public information.
It’s possible other attractions like Ark Encounter sucked away the “Christians eager for a holy experience” crowd.
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