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Georgia Lawmakers Punish Delta for Breaking Ties with NRA

by Countable | 3.2.18

UPDATE: March 3. 2018: Republican lawmakers in Georgia made good on their threat to kill a tax break for the Atlanta-based Delta airlines after the company announced it was ending a discount program for NRA members.

  • Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a Republican and stanch NRA supporter, said: "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."

  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, tweeted:

Read Countable's original story below.


What’s the story?

Atlanta is the primary hub for Delta Airlines, and the airline is the state’s largest private employer. So, a dust up between the airline and Georgia lawmakers has potentially significant implications for the state’s economy. And in this case, it also affects the national conversation about gun control.

The airline has been pursuing state legislation involving a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel, of which Delta would be the primary beneficiary. Until a week ago GOP lawmakers in the state were publicly supportive of the bill.

Then Delta joined dozens of corporations in ending their discount program for NRA members in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, FL.

Monday morning, Georgia’s lieutenant governor Casey Cagle, who also heads the state senate, took to Twitter to proclaim that he would block the tax break legislation until Delta reversed their position on the NRA discount program.

State Senator Rick Jeffares then joined Cagle’s efforts to block the bill.

Conservatives had previously lauded the airline when they pulled out of sponsorship of a New York Public Theater Production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which portrayed a Trump-like Roman statesman being assassinated.

The tax break legislation had cleared the Georgia House of Representatives on Thursday, and now must pass the Senate before moving to the governor’s desk. GOP Governor Nathan Deal has not made a statement about Cagle’s stance or any changes to his support of the legislation.

What do you think?

Do you support Georgia lawmakers holding Delta’s feet to the fire over their NRA position? Do you think they’re going too far? Should lawmakers be able to control access to resources for companies based on their support of political groups those lawmakers are endorsed by? Is this new in politics or the way it’s always been?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker and Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(406)
  • Eric
    02/27/2018
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    The government punishing companies for having opposing political views sounds illegal to me. Now that the Citizens United ruling has strangely determined that companies are people too, isn't the government infringing on Delta's first amendment rights? Also, the thousands of Delta employees who will be harmed by this will likely remember this at election time. And to any company thinking about having headquarters in Georgia - remember this. I guess when politicians love guns more than kids, they turn into dictators who do seriously stupid things.

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  • Chase
    02/27/2018
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    I live in Georgia and he will NEVER get my vote, what he is doing is childish and immoral, you cannot punish someone (or a company) for doing something completely legal.

    Like (207)
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  • Leslie
    02/27/2018
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    The actions of the Georgia’s GOP is very close to extortion especially since cooperations are now considered “individuals”

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  • Robert
    02/27/2018
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    This seems like a criminal act. To blackmail companies you into supporting their corporate sponsors seems illegal to me

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  • Niki
    02/27/2018
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    Delta should not be held hostage by the NRA. Delta is perfectly justified in abandoning the state, especially as the company is such a large player in the economy. I am sure plenty of others states would be thrilled to have Delta establish a hub there, and would not try to force Delays to give preferential treatment to the gun lobby.

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  • Jesse
    02/27/2018
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    The airline did the right thing here by not supporting the nra

    Like (111)
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  • Countryfirst
    02/27/2018
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    DISGUSTING and DISGRACEFUL behavior from the Georgia law makers..you MONEY GRUBBING NRA LOVING DICTATOR WORSHIPPING COWARDS NEED TO REMEMBER THE CHILDREN AND NOT YOUR DAMN WALLETS..MONEY FROM THE NRA IS BLOOD MONEY!

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  • Antonice
    02/27/2018
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    It is illegal and he’s pretty stupid to publicly threaten a private company who just happens to be one of the states largest employers. That’s a pretty dumb move to just potentially screw over his constituents. They’ll remember and all he’ll be is Lt. Governor!

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  • Sharon
    02/27/2018
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    Georgia’s hubris ignores the financial benefits Delta brings to their primarily rural state. This fact as well as the fact that millions more citizens will likely be flying Delta as a result of its decision to withdraw NRA support certainly bodes well for Delta’s success. My family and I will be flying Delta exclusively...and I doubt we are the only ones. I’m pleased to see Delta stand up to the bullies in GA government. Thank you Delta. Your decision is sane and ethical and I suspect will improve your profit margin, bravo.

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  • Vicky
    02/27/2018
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    Delta is doing the right thing, get the GOP jerk out of office

    Like (64)
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  • BoldlyGo
    02/27/2018
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    Governor's actions and statements are illegal if not downright, corrupt and immoral. He should be voted the hell out of office🗑 Delta is a private or public company, what happened to the Republican party's Mantra about less government interference and regulations💩

    Like (56)
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  • Donna
    02/28/2018
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    American corporations have the right to take a political stand based on the views and wishes of their customers. This Republican Lt. Governor has a right to express his opposition to such a stand under his 1st Amendment right. What ANY lawmaker, public official, person in power does NOT HAVE is the right to threaten or blackmail a corporation from that position of power. That is blackmail. I hope Delta has the strength to call his bluff and move the operations elsewhere, as GE did years back in CT. Politicians are elected to SERVE THEIR CONSTITUENTS, not impose the will of their donors on ANYONE. When thousands of jobs are pulled from the economy in GA, maybe the voters will actually get involved in our elections instead of just pulling levers along party lines. Maybe that will break the cycle of tribal politics we are in today.

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  • Sandra
    02/27/2018
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    This is still America, Right? Since when did it become "OK" for Government employees to threaten a corporation that they WILL NOT get tax cuts if they do not continue a policy of giving discounts to an organization?...'Scuse me while I say WTF!...apparently in the world of Trumpian Republicans, some one is "free" if they are white and can have "freedom of religion" as long as it is "Evangelical Christian" and are toting a gun!

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  • Chickie
    02/27/2018
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    If you do what I like, I’ll reward you. If you don’t, I won’t like you anymore. However, instead of taking away my ball, I’ll take away my money. It appears the GA GOP has learned how to play the NRA game well. Guess what GOP ~ this isn’t a game. People’s lives, young and old, are at stake. Enough representing the rich lobbyists. Enough being the voice of the NRA. Stand up for your constituents ~ the one’s you SHOULD represent. News Flash: If you are not working for your constituents, you will be out of a job come your re-election. Americans are screaming, ENOUGH! #enoughisenough

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  • Mark
    02/28/2018
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    Increasing taxes on a company because you have a political disagreement is as un-American as it gets. The once respectable GOP has gone completely off the deep end.

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  • NoHedges
    02/28/2018
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    Why should an airline be required to have ties to the NRA in the first place? Seems to me to be a serious conflict of interest. 😁🤣I do know one thing, ⚜️I personally will be flying Delta every time I fly!

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  • Susan
    03/03/2018
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    Inexcusable! The government should never be able to pass laws punishing a private company for any policy it chooses to make. I am shocked and amazed.

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  • Judith
    02/28/2018
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    Another reason not to visit Georgia. Is this the US Georgia or the Russian Georgia? Just curious.

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  • Denise
    02/28/2018
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    So it's unfair to require an employer-provided healthcare plan to provide a prescription to a woman who has a debilitating menstrual cycle because it infringes on the employer's belief system, yet when a corporation takes a stand for their beliefs, this is not allowed? If I have to suffer under the corporations-are-people-too argument of Citizens United, so do fairweather Republicans. The GOP claims to be the right-to-life party, but balks when it comes to actually saving lives. The ironies just write themselves.

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  • PaxAmericana
    02/27/2018
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    Thank you Georgia GOP. Teach Delta a lesson.

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