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Pro-gun lawmakers pass tax reform plan without huge break for Delta

The measure now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who criticized the "unbecoming squabble."

ATLANTA — Pro-gun Republicans in the Georgia legislature have won a political victory over Delta Air Lines, denying the company a hefty tax break after it cut ties with the National Rifle Association in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Florida high school.

The state House and Senate passed, by large margins Thursday, a sweeping tax bill the GOP amended to strip out a sales tax exemption on jet fuel. Atlanta-based Delta, who employs nearly 33,000 Georgians, would have been the prime beneficiary.

The measure now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who criticized the "unbecoming squabble" on Wednesday but said he would sign the tax bill into law in whatever form it passed.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and other Republicans vowed to kill the Delta tax break after the airline announced it would no longer offer discounted fares to NRA members.

Cagle, who is running to succeed Deal, drew public ire over his actions, and a Democratic candidate for governor went so far as to say he broke the law.

“Cagle threatened to use his elected office to impose retribution against Delta, one of Georgia’s largest private employers, unless Delta conformed to his personal ideology,” said Evans, who held a press conference Thursday to reiterate her claim. “In addition, it is probable that the NRA will spend large sums to boost the campaign of the Republican nominee for governor, a position Mr. Cagle is currently campaigning to win. Thus, Cagle’s threat is a potential violation of state criminal and ethics laws.”

Evans isn't the only one to share these sentiments. A few hours after the vote, Georgia Congressman John Lewis tweeted simply "I stand with Delta."


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