Georgia Senate Blocks Tax Bill Benefitting Delta Airlines

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February 26, 2018

The Georgia Senate on Monday blocked, at least temporarily, the passage of a bill that would have benefited Delta Air Lines, Inc. after the company cut ties with the National Rifle Association.

The Atlanta-based company has been steering legislation through the Georgia General Assembly that exempts jet fuel from the state's sales tax. The company hit a snag, however, after announcing Saturday that it was ending a partnership under which the airline provided discounted fairs to NRA members traveling to the organization's annual meeting. Following the company's announcement, a growing number of Senate Republicans have moved to strip the provision out of a broader tax-cut bill that has already passed the state House.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he wasn't supporting the legislation "unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with the NRA," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The company was facing public pressure to end its relationship with the NRA in the wake of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Delta is one of several companies, including Enterprise Rent-A-Car, First National Bank of Omaha, and MetLife, Inc. that have relented and cut ties with the organization.

In response to Delta's decision, however, Republican lawmakers began tweeting over the weekend about their desire to take the provision out of the bill, culminating in Monday's decision to block the bill.

Former Georgia state Senator Rick Jeffares, a Republican candidate for Lt. Governor, was one of the first to rebuke Delta, noting the irony in the organization's willingness to abandon "hard-earned dollars" from NRA members while asking for a $40 million tax break from Georgia taxpayers.

"If Delta is so flush that they don't need NRA members hard-earned dollars, they can certainly do without the $40 million tax break they are asking GA taxpayers for," Jeffares wrote.

Delta defended its decision in a statement released on Saturday. The company said that it "supported the Second Amendment" and that its decision "reflects the airline's neutral status in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings." The company also pointed to the fact that it had withdrawn its sponsorship of a "Julius Caesar" production that depicted the assassination of President Donald Trump.

Published under: Georgia , NRA , Taxes