State Tax Exemption for Fighting Health Care Law?

Hobby Lobby Bill would offer tax exemptions to businesses fined for not complying with provisions of Affordable Care Act

A new bill in the Texas Legislature would offer tax exemptions equal to fines for businesses fighting certain provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act.

The measure would give tax exemptions to Texas businesses who are fined by the feds for refusing to offer emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill.

Lawmakers are calling House Bill 649 the Hobby Lobby Bill after one such company, crafts retailer Hobby Lobby.

Hobby Lobby's owner, a devout Christian, doesn't want his business to provide emergency contraception but could face millions of dollars in fines for not doing so. The company has filed a lawsuit over the law.

Freshman Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, who authored HB 649, said the measure could open the floodgates for similar bills across the country.

"The penalty is designed to bankrupt them into submission," he said. "We're not going to let the federal government bankrupt the businesses in this state."

Stickland said many businesses could file for the exemptions, and if they qualify, the measure would give millions in tax exemptions to businesses. But the loss of revenue could be an economic incentive for businesses to relocate to Texas, he said.

"This is a very Republican bill," he said. "It's pro-life, pro-religious freedom."

More: House Bill 649

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