Georgia Legislature Punishes Delta for Cutting Ties With the NRA

JAN. 21 2010

Georgia's state legislature passed a revamped tax overhaul bill that strips a major tax break that benefited airline Delta.

The scuffle prompted other states to court Delta.

"Hey (at) delta - Virginia is for lovers and airline hubs". "You're welcome here any time".

Democrats, including Sen. Steve Henson, argued cutting the tax break could make it hard for Delta to compete with other airlines and possibly hinder the state's ability to attract other businesses.

But don't expect Delta to go anywhere.

Contacted Thursday, Whipple said he's serious and would work to facilitate any Delta presence, up to and including moving its headquarters from Atlanta.

"On the Monopoly board, Atlanta is Boardwalk", he said.

Delta has helped make Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport the busiest airport in the world.

"Cagle threatened to use his elected office to impose retribution against Delta, one of Georgia's largest private employers, unless Delta conformed to his personal ideology", said Evans, who held a press conference Thursday to reiterate her claim.

Before the Senate killed the tax break this week, Deal said the exemption would help "keep Georgia competitive as a major global hub of commerce". But he put some of the blame on the airline, noting the jet fuel exemption wasn't controversial before Delta crossed the NRA.

Delta's decision to stop offering NRA members discounted fares was announced in the wake of the deadly Valentine's Day shooting at a Florida high school. In response, Georgia Republicans took the company to task for targeting the powerful gun lobby.

The bill is expected to be signed into law early next week.

Georgia state legislators on Thursday struck down what would have been a lucrative tax exemption for hometown carrier Delta Air Lines, after vowing to punish the airline for ending its relationship with the National Rifle Association.

"What is important is not that [tax break] any more but that Georgians are going to get their tax relief and we couldn't let that fall victim to everything that was going on with Delta", Republican House Speaker David Ralston said.

There's a good chance Delta will get its tax break, anyway. Deal said he will pursue exempting jet fuel from sales taxes separately.

In addition, the article noted that Delta signed a 20-year lease two years ago to stay in Atlanta, where it has been based for 77 years.



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