Georgia May Strip Delta Tax Break Over Its NRA Break
I don't see how the state legislature making tax decisions on the basis of the public position an company takes is legal under the 14th Amendment.
Delta Airlines, which over the weekend was one of many major corporations severing its ties with the NRA (and this case, a branded credit card) after an online boycott movement, is now facing a backlash from the legislature of its home state.
AJC (“Delta’s tax break may not take flight after Georgia Senate blocks it“):
The Georgia Senate’s leaders vowed to block a lucrative tax break bill on Monday that would benefit Delta Air Lines after the Atlanta-based company severed ties with the National Rifle Association.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he would not support tax legislation that helped the airline “unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with the NRA.” He echoed a growing number of conservatives who opposed the measure over the weekend.
It came after Delta desperately sought to find neutral ground in a gun debate that has very little, trying to soothe concerns among conservative lawmakers infuriated by the company’s decision to end discounted rates for NRA members in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida high school.
That move forced Gov. Nathan Deal and other supporters of the $50 million jet fuel sales tax exemption to shift to the defensive, and prompted a growing number of Republicans to try to strip the provision out of a broader tax-cut bill that has already passed the state House.
A related report (“Georgia Senate vows to ground Delta tax break after NRA decision“) adds:
Delta officials tried to stem the GOP revolt in a statement that circulated around the statehouse on Monday saying the company is a supporter of the Second Amendment with a “neutral” stance on a gun debate that sharpened this month after the mass shooting at a Florida high school.
It also noted a past decision to withdraw its sponsorship of a theater that depicted the assassination of President Donald Trump as evidence it has also rejected left-leaning groups.
But the company’s assertion that it wanted to stay out of a “politically and emotionally charged issue” prompted snickering from some conservatives who noted the airline has a history of trying to influence state policies.
“We need to see what Delta can offer us because they took a big misstep here,” said state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “And I hope they can find some way to rectify the situation.”
This seems like a cut off your nose to spite your face situation:
The measure’s tailspin was a blow to Gov. Nathan Deal and other supporters of the tax break, who say it’s needed to help keep Atlanta competitive with other airline hubs that do not charge air carriers sales taxes for fuel purchases.
The governor pushed to include the tax break in a broader measure that reduces the state’s income tax rate, and that package passed the House last week by a hefty margin. He met with Senate Republicans early Monday to try to ease their concerns, but by then the outcry had reached full pitch.
As noted over the weekend, I’m extremely uncomfortable with the mob mentality that is leading companies to crack down on an advocacy organization engaging in free speech. But this, of course, is much worse. Indeed, I don’t see how the state legislature making tax decisions on the basis of the public position an company takes is legal under the 14th Amendment.