Please note, I am neither an account or a lawyer… but I am a taxpayer and Seattle folks are facing a tax levy to upgrade our city street and transportation infrastructure in large part to accommodate businesses like Amazon and Expedia expanding in Seattle – so I have been thinking a lot about this.
This is about all of us as taxpayers – small and large businesses get tax breaks, tax incentives, other types of incentives, including use of city owned land or city will make capital improvements in an area to attract a business or as an agreement to a business being in a particular community. Small and large businesses use the same infrastructure that our tax dollars fund, such as the pipes to get the water in and the sewer out, the power grids, the roads to their business, and the sidewalks, and those tax dollars, include what LGBTQ adults and families pay into.
For example, if small business owner has a SBA backed business loan, that loan is backed by the federal gov’t, which means it is tax dollars, allowing that bank to take the risk to make that loan, so taxpayer/tax dollars are backing that loan, say if the business owner should default.
The small business owner is being supported by a structure that we all pay into, including LGBTQ people. So if I am paying into the structure that allows for individuals and families to start their own business, that business also has an obligation to uphold what their license and tax filing intentions declares what they intend do, which is to sell goods and service to the public.
In the city of North Little Rock, AK “requires all businesses to obtain a privilege license to conduct business within the city limits.” Which means tax dollars are also paying for the city services to provide zoning permits, business licenses, inspections, etc…as well as keep the road paved in front of the business, plow streets, clean sidewalks etc..
Small businesses and large are intertwined in local, state, and federal gov’t – all of which again is funded by the taxpayer: individuals, corporations, and businesses.
A business cannot opt out of this structure, to opt out is to leave America, to start your own country or move your business to another country with a different governmental structure, like Russia, China, or Cuba for example.
This is the democratic structure we espouse to in the United States… life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, for all… not just for some.
Freedom is not about denying one person’s rights or access over another, freedom is ensuring we all have the same basic rights and access. A business is licensed to serve the public, then it must serve the whole public. That is freedom.
Besides these state level “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” legislation having the opposite effect, which is to opens the doors to allowing discrimination against any and all of us, such as a business owner believes that Christians are against their beliefs so lets stop serving them; how does someone tell if the person asking for the service is against their faith, this gets into individual privacy if a business owner starts asking a lot of invasive questions, or is based on how someone looks or acts.
Freedom is about equality and fairness, I want to be treated fairly and I want others to be treated fairly. You are not free, if your neighbor is denied the same access, same basic rights because of who they are. We all pay the price for discrimination.