As businesses like Hobby Lobby who’d rather swallow ObamaCare fines than compromise their principles, some at the state level are looking for ways to help.
As you’ll recall, the craft store giant Hobby Lobby has vowed to pay potential fines of up to $1.3 million per day in protest of the Obama administration’s “morning-after mandate” which requires employers to provide employees with insurance that covers the costs of birth control. But while many object to the regulation and the effect it will have on such a business, is there anything else that can be done to protect businesses and their religious beliefs from the government?
In Texas, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, a Republican, has filed a bill to grant state tax breaks to any company fined by the federal government for not covering contraception costs in its health insurance plan. The legislation — House Bill 649 — would exempt Hobby Lobby and other “religiously based businesses” from state sales and franchise taxes if they are fined by the federal government. According to the Austin Statesman, the state tax credit would be limited to the amount of the federal fine or the amount of state tax the company owes.
“When a business is being stressed nearly to the point of bankruptcy by punitive federal taxes, of course the state should give them relief,” Stickland announced in a statement.
While I support Hobby Lobby and its ongoing battle for religious freedom, I do not support using the tax code — state or federal — to protest.
Full disclosure: I’m a bit of a crafting fiend and I love the Hobster Lobster. But such an act amounts to a transfer of wealth from the state to the federal government. While this tax break might help a few privately owned businesses, it ultimately hurts the state and its residents who will have to forego the tax revenues by cutting funding or raising other tax rates.
What do you think? Do you think it’s a good idea for the state to cover the costs of a business’ non-compliance? Sound off with a comment!