POLITICS
03/01/2018 05:05 pm ET

Georgia Lawmakers Pass Bill Punishing Delta For Cutting Ties With NRA

The measure scraps a proposed tax exemption for jet fuel, which would have benefited the Atlanta-based airline.

Georgia lawmakers passed a bill on Thursday effectively punishing Delta Air Lines for its decision to cut ties with the National Rifle Association in the wake of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The state’s House and Senate passed a major a tax bill, which Republican lawmakers had amended to remove a sales tax exemption on jet fuel, The Associated Press reported. Delta, which is based in Atlanta, would have been the primary airline to benefit from the exemption.

Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R) was one of the main lawmakers pushing for the amendment after Delta announced it would no longer offer NRA members discounted fares following the Feb. 14 shooting in Florida. A gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and injured over a dozen others, reigniting a fierce debate on gun control around the country. 

A number of companies, ranging from banks to insurance providers to rental car brands, announced decisions to end formal and informal deals with the NRA in response to the company’s staunch anti-gun control stance. 

Cagle, however, saw Delta’s decision as a direct attack on conservatives and vowed to undermine any legislation that might benefit the airlines.

“Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” Cagle wrote on Twitter on Monday. 

Delta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R), who is serving his last year in office, criticized lawmakers’ attack on Delta as an “unbecoming squabble.”

“Ours is a welcoming state, the epitome of Southern hospitality,” Deal said on Wednesday. “We were not elected to give the late-night talk show hosts further fodder for their monologues, or to act with the type of immaturity that has caused so many in our society to be skeptical about politics.”

But the governor said he would sign the tax bill into law in whatever form the state House and Senate pass it.

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