Cagle will ‘kill’ Delta tax break unless it backs down on NRA

[private]Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle put himself squarely in the cross-hairs of a growing political controversy by threatening Monday to “kill” the Delta Air Lines tax break bill unless the company backs down on its NRA position.

Cagle tweeted Monday afternoon: “I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.”

He thus has thrown down the gauntlet with Gov. Nathan Deal, who still wants to preserve a $50 million tax break that mainly benefits Delta.

The Delta squabble started late last week when the airline announced it would join other major corporations and no longer offer a discount to NRA members. The company said it wanted to stay out of a “politically and emotionally charged issue” in the wake of a recent school shooting.

That immediately triggered demands from Republicans, including several running for statewide office, that Delta be cut loose from the tax bill (HB 918) that includes an exemption on the sale of jet fuel. That jet fuel tax break would be worth an estimated $40 million a year to Delta, $50 million overall.

“I’m pro-business, but businesses need to have a level playing field,” said Clay Tippins, a candidate for governor. “This hit people in their gut. It’s about fairness.”

“I am disappointed that certain corporations have chosen to engage in a sensitive debate by vilifying law-abiding supporters of Second Amendment rights,” House Speaker David Ralston said. “Likewise, I am troubled that this information was not made public until after the House of Representatives passed our comprehensive tax reform measure, HB 918.”

“As we know, HB 918 now sits in the Senate,” Ralston said. “The Senate may amend that bill as it moves through their chamber. I trust they, along with the Lt. Governor, will carefully consider the appropriate course of action.”

The General Assembly first voted in 2005 to give Delta, then struggling with bankruptcy, the jet fuel tax break. In 2015, however, the tax exemption was repealed at the urging of Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) after Delta executives lobbied against a religious freedom bill.

Lawmakers justified the repeal by citing Delta’s enormous profits, a situation that hasn’t changed.

© 2018 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Casey Cagle , Delta tax break , NRA