Georgia lawmakers voted Thursday, March 1st to do away with a tax break for Delta Air Lines after it joined in a political boycott, severing ties with the NRA.
The tax break consisted of a $50 million jet fuel tax exemption. Considering that only 13 NRA members used the discount, this amounts to a cost of 4 million dollars a passenger for Delta.
Fox New quoted Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, saying, “Businesses have every legal right to make their own decisions, but the Republican majority in our state legislature also has every right to govern guided by our principles.” On February 26 Cagle pledged to end the tax cut for Delta unless they reversed their decision against the NRA.
Delta attempted to quell the backlash against its decisions by saying, “Delta’s decision [to sever ties with the NRA] reflects the airline’s neutral status in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings. Out of respect for our customers and employees on both sides, Delta has taken action to refrain from entering this debate and focus on its business. Delta continues to support the 2nd Amendment.”
After the firestorm, Delta will review all its marketing programs to avoid those that might become political, CEO Ed Bastian announced Friday.
But the airline said only 13 passengers ever bought tickets with an NRA discount. That translates into each discount costing the airline about $3 million in tax breaks.
“We are in the process of a review to end group discounts for any group of a politically divisive nature,” Bastian said in a note to employees. The legislative flight played out against the Republican primary campaign to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal, who supported the jet-fuel tax break before it was removed.
Delta is headquartered in Atlanta and “employs 33,000 Georgians. Governors of New York and Virginia, a House were among officials who jabbed Georgia in the dispute and offered to have Delta move its headquarters from Atlanta.
But Bastian said the airline is staying put.
“None of this changes the fact that our home is Atlanta and we are proud and honored to locate our headquarters here. And we are supporters of the 2nd Amendment, just as we embrace the entire Constitution of the United States.”