GA lawmakers respond to Delta debate

05 March, 2018, 00:36 | Author: Gladys Mathis
  • Georgia lawmakers punish Delta Airlines over NRA

In the memo, Bastian said the airline has started a review and will end group discounts for "politically divisive" organizations.

Whipple said while the gun debate is at the center of the dispute between Delta and the state of Georgia, putting politics aside for economic growth is something Kansans could do. She said Delta's decision to end its NRA discounts led her to support the jet fuel tax break.

The Georgia Senate passed a large tax reform bill on Thursday, one day after removing an exemption on jet fuel that would have been a boon for the Atlanta-based airline.

Bastian wrote that "while Delta's intent was to remain neutral, some elected officials in Georgia tied our decision to a pending jet fuel tax exemption, threatening to eliminate it unless we reversed course".

Delta did not immediately comment on the votes, but the controversy has prompted several states in recent days to lobby the airline to relocate its headquarters. That tax exemption would have saved Delta an estimated $40 million in taxes, according to Business Insider.

The governors of CT and NY, also Democrats, have also pitched their states to the airline, according to The Associated Press, which says the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, and a congressional representative from OH "also have reached out to Delta in recent days".

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Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running in a crowded primary for governor in May, set the stage for the fight with a tweet Monday saying conservatives would fight back. The House - which had passed an earlier version with the jet fuel exemption intact before the Delta-NRA controversy erupted - followed with a 135-24 vote. Delta also secured another win in getting Qatar Airways to agree to open its books, after repeated complaints that the airline and two other Middle Eastern airlines receive government subsidies that make it hard for us carriers to compete. Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said Friday the discounted fares had been available for a short time and were only for NRA members purchasing flights to the group's 2018 convention in Dallas.

On Friday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian issued a memo to employees, explaining the airline's decision.

The article points out that Delta has had an enormously profitable relationship with the Atlanta airport, which it practically controls by virtue of its size and headquarters' presence there.

"I'm sure if we got someone from a company like Delta who was interested in taking a look at our state, those are the type of conversations that we on the committee would love to have".

The controversy relates to political activism in the US following a February mass shooting at a Florida high school in which 17 people were killed.

More than a dozen companies distanced themselves from the NRA after the school shooting in Florida.

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