Austin, TX—Monday evening, Jason Stanford, a Democrat political consultant, put his complete lack of public policy competence on display for all Texans to see. In a television debate against Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values regarding Rep. Jonathan Stickland’s HB 649—a bill to protect Hobby Lobby and other Christian Businesses from federal tax penalties related to Obamacare—Stanford attempted to claim that exempting Hobby Lobby under the act from state taxes would result in billions of lost tax revenue.
“The false statements Stanford made in his debate are almost too many to address,” commented Stickland. “But his comical projection of Texas’ tax receipts from Hobby Lobby are hard to overlook.”
During the television debate, which aired on Fox 7 in Austin, Stanford claimed, “This (bill) would reimburse Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma corporation, from my money and his money for, like, $1.3 million a day. Over an entire budget, a two year budget, you know what that costs Texas? A billion dollars.”
Hobby Lobby has been front–and–center in a fight against the federal government over mandates included in the Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare,” which would require businesses to provide insurance coverage for the “morning–after pill” and week–after pill.” Hobby Lobby has refused to comply with the mandate, citing the owners’ religious objection to abortion, and faces tax penalties of up to $1.3 million per day. Hobby Lobby is challenging the tax penalties in court, arguing that the mandate and the penalties threaten the religious liberty of Hobby Lobby’s owners.
Contrary to Stanford’s assertions, HB 649, filed by Stickland, would exempt Hobby Lobby and other businesses in their situation from sales taxes and business margins taxes collected by the state of Texas. While the total amount of state taxes exempted is difficult to ascertain due to privacy protections, it is far less than the amount of federal tax penalties prescribed under the act.
“As a Democrat, Stanford might want Texas to take 25 cents of every dollar Hobby Lobby brings in nationwide, but thankfully we can’t and we don’t,” stated Stickland. “HB 649 would exempt Hobby Lobby and other businesses hit with federal tax penalties under Obamacare from in-state taxes we would normally collect. The Obama administration has offered religious businesses a stark choice: submit to our will or go out of business. If we don’t do something to relieve them we are going to lose their tax revenue anyway; the outrageous tax-penalties will ensure it.”
“This issue is all about protecting religious liberty,” said Stickland. “As Hobby Lobby and other businesses stand strong against religious oppression at the hands of the federal government, it would simply be wrong for our state to chop at their ankles with additional taxes. That’s why I filed HB 649 and why I’m asking for the support of Texans and my colleagues.”