Georgia Gov. Deal signs tax bill sans Delta cuts

In the wake of the deadly school shooting in Florida that killed 17 - and a bitter debate over gun control - Delta on Saturday canceled a program offering discounted airfares to NRA members traveling to the association's annual meeting.

The Georgia legislature passed a tax reform bill on Thursday which excluded a provision that allowed airlines to re-fuel at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport without paying the state's sales tax.

In a February 28 interview with Fox News' Fox & Friends, Cagle reaffirmed his disagreement with Delta's decision but also acknowledged the airline's importance to the state, calling it a "family member".

"Virginia is for lovers and airline hubs", Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said on Twitter. She said Delta's decision to end its NRA discounts led her to support the jet fuel tax break. Previously, the airline had made a decision to sever ties with the NRA and end member discounts.

More than a dozen companies, including Metlife, Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Best Western, Wyndham and United Airlines, have ended NRA partnerships since the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Then, Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian sort of diluted the political relevance of the decision, saying it was made in order to "remain neutral" and "remove Delta from this [gun control] debate". But he said it was too late to make any other changes to the bill. "I have tremendous respect and admiration for [Georgia] Governor Nathan Deal, and thank him for the work he has done on the jet fuel exemption". The move appeared to be an act of retribution for Delta's decision to sever ties with the NRA.

Georgia Republicans responded by removing the tax break, which would have been worth about $50 million. The state is now courting Amazon and and experts say the tiff with Delta could keep the tech giant away.

While some lawmakers called the Delta exemption "corporate welfare", Senate leader Casey Cagle bluntly said he would kill it to punish Delta for cutting ties with the NRA.

However, following Delta Airline's announcement that it would eliminate discounts for National Rifle Association members, state lawmakers removed the jet fuel language from the bill on Wednesday.

"He is a great friend to Delta", Bastian said.

The Georgia lawmakers' action is not just shockingly vindictive.

Malloy also touted CT as one of the safest states "with one of the lowest rates of firearm deaths in the country".

"I think if we were able to bring those jobs here, then personal politics would be set aside", he said.

Looking for news you can trust? If they had rescinded the NRA discount months ago over, say, the group's weird culture-war ads, that would be one thing.

  • Leroy Wright