The front-runner to be the next Governor of Georgia put his political muscle behind the National Rifle Association today with a threat to derail pending legislation that would give a tax break to Delta Airlines, one of the state’s largest employers.
The candidate leading the race is Casey Cagle, currently the Lieutenant Governor of Georgia and the president of the state Senate, who just blocked a bill that would restore a $40 million tax break to Delta over their severing of ties with the NRA.
The move is an unethical abuse of his position on behalf of the bloodstained lobbying group, which has seen ties cut not just with Delta but with a number of others, including rental car companies and the First National Bank of Omaha in the wake of the mass murder in Parkland, Florida, amid a growing national movement to demand sensible gun laws – which the well-heeled lobbying group opposes.
I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.
— Casey Cagle (@CaseyCagle) February 26, 2018
Delta is trying to fight the conservative backlash by claiming it is just moving to a neutral stance on the gun debate and not taking a position against the NRA, as its lobbyists tweeted:
@Delta announcement this morning was not a political statement-it was the opposite. @Delta merely confirmed its neutral status on a politically and emotionally charged issue by removing its name from the debate.
— David Werner (@davidrosswerner) February 24, 2018
Delta wants to regain a lucrative sales tax break on jet fuel it first got in the early 20th century when the airline was in a difficult financial position.
In 2015, when Delta was making record profits, opponents were able to strip away the exemption and the airline has been working ever since to get it to fly again.
Delta seems to have been oblivious to the political implications of ending its discount program for NRA members.
In a press release over the weekend, Delta said that “Out of respect for our customer’s and employees on both sides, Delta has taken this action to refrain from entering this debate and focus on business. Delta continues to support the 2nd Amendment.”
That didn’t stop conservatives from jumping on the airline. State Sen. Rick Jeffares, who is running for Lt. governor, had previously voted to support the tax break for Delta – which has already passed the state House – but was shot down today thanks to the machinations of Cagle.
In Georgia, one of the reddest of all red states, this is not about logic, truth or justice; it is old-fashioned politics, and a chance to publicly genuflect to the NRA.
Cagle has been a longtime NRA supporter, dating back to even before 2009 when he became the first Republican ever to be elected Lt. Governor of Georgia. he has since been re-elected twice.
In his race for Governor, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that he has been forced to get even more conservative in order to protect his flank from other conservatives who are even more radical.
One of those opponents is state Sen Michael Williams, who the AJC reports, “At any given moment…is likely to be cradling a firearm for the cameras or extolling the virtue of weaponry.”
So Delta may have thought their action was neutral and unimportant, but it is red meat to an ambitious conservative like Cagle, who is more than happy to use his high profile position to kick the airline and attract even more contributions from the NRA and its adherents.
It doesn’t matter to them how many children are killed with guns, or how many criminals have guns, as long s they get the campaign donations and votes that keep them in power.
Cagey Cagle knows that and is taking full advantage of the moment in the worst possible way.