GA lawmakers negotiate Delta tax break after threat from lieutenant governor

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers are negotiating what to do with the proposed Delta Air Lines jet fuel tax break after Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle promised to kill that legislation because of the airline’s controversial decision over the National Rifle Association.

State Sen.Jeff Mullis said he and other Senate Republicans are siding with the lieutenant governor over Delta’s decision to end discounts for NRA members.

"The lieutenant governor represents the extreme majority of the Senate and how they believe that bill should be," he said.

Cagle announced Monday that he would kill any Delta jet fuel tax break, even though it was attached to a comprehensive tax overhaul bill that included tax cuts for Georgians.


"Certainly, Delta is a wonderful corporate partner. We can fight for jobs, but we can also fight for our values and that's exactly what I'm going to do," he said.

That decision prompted a series of tweets from leaders in other states encouraging Delta to move there.

Bill supporters pointed out that the Federal Aviation Administration ruled that the way Georgia used the jet fuel sales tax, to help Clayton County Schools rather than the airport, was against federal regulations.

Sources said all sides in the debate are working hard behind the scenes to smooth over the controversy, and there are hopes that the full Senate will vote on the tax cut bill, with the jet fuel tax break, Thursday.

Mullis said he's ready to move on the tax bill, but isn't sure yet about Delta.

"We'd like to move forward on our tax cut for the people of Georgia and we'd like for Delta to capitulate and agree with our side of this," he said.

Channel 2's Richard Elliot contacted Delta for a comment, but did not get a response.