LA QUINTA, Calif. - Hobby Lobby plans to open a new store in La Quinta by Thanksgiving, just in time for the holiday shopping season.
Now some people are questioning a tax break involving the company that's created controversy by challenging part of the Affordable Care Act mandating birth control coverage.
Since the June Supreme Court Decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, the craft store became a rally point for the women's healthcare movement and local activists say that is no place for local government.
"I don't want them, I don't want them period," said Democratic activist Elle Kurpiewski.
The US Supreme Court ruled some for-profit companies don't have to provide certain forms of birth control if it's against their faith. People upset by the decision are starting to protest at the opening of any new Hobby Lobby stores.
"What they are really doing, is dictating to women, their biggest client by the way, what they can and can not do with their reproductive rights. It's offensive and I'm offended that the city put together this kind of a deal with them.
Under the agreement, 50 percent of sales tax generated from Hobby Lobby will go back into the shopping center for improvements. The developer, One Eleven La Quinta, will get up to $400,000 for landscaping, walkways connecting existing stores and installing a new light on Adams Street and Corporate Center Drive.
"It does create jobs and revenue for the city. The building that is going up is a 54,000 square foot building that Hobby Lobby will be in and the developer is the one paying and building for that structure so that is why the agreement is with the developer," said La Quinta City Council member Linda Evans.
Evans says it's about encouraging growth in the city nothing more.
"We've had other agreements in place, it wasn't specific to Hobby Lobby. If another large store would be in there, the developer would be asking for a similar arrangement," said Evans.
Kurpiewski still takes issue, "Still it's using funds to help a company that wants to deny a portion of women's reproductive rights, that is offensive to every women that is in this community."
"The city has the right to bring anyone they want into the community, doesn't mean I have to shop there," said Kurpiewski.
This sales tax agreement was approved at La Quinta's City Council meeting Tuesday. It is not permanent,it will expire after $400,000 is generated or six years, which ever comes first.
If you would like to read the agreement click here.
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