Georgia leaders had to “draw a line in the sand” after Delta Air Lines eliminated a discount it long had offered to National Rifle Association members, the state’s second-ranking elected official said Monday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
Delta ended the benefit — which only 13 people had used, reportedly — following last month’s mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The airline is one of a number of companies pressured by gun control advocates to cut ties to the NRA.
“It’s a very, very important company,” said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (shown above), who led the drive to remove a tax break on fuel for the state’s largest employer. “But when the boycott came out and Delta made the decision to wade in at that point … they’re singling out conservative, law-abiding gun owners. And the tax cut was already in jeopardy. But when they did that, it was just — we had to draw a line in the sand.”
Cagle called Delta’s move a “bone-headed decision.”
The airline had requested a complete exemption from an airline fuel tax, amounting to about $50 million a year, as part of a $5.7 billion tax cut package. Lawmakers removed the tax break for Delta and passed the overall bill; Gov. Nathan Deal signed it Friday.
“And so, this issue is put to bed as it pertains to the tax cut for Delta and the other airlines,” he said. “And I just don’t see any middle ground there.”
Cagle said taxes apply the same to Delta as to other Georgia businesses. Eliminating the tax break merely removed a special benefit, he said.
“Obviously, we want Delta to succeed,” he said. “This is not meant to be punitive in nature. But it is meant to be very clear that conservatives are tired of being kicked around.”
Cagle said Georgians support the Constitution.
“If it’s the Second Amendment today, what’s it going to be tomorrow? Our First Amendment?” he asked. “I mean, we’re standing up and fighting for the Constitution. And I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Cagle shrugged off efforts to lure Delta by public officials like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“I think that’s laughable in itself,” he said. “First and foremost, I mean, Georgia is the number-one place to do business in … There’s a reason that Georgia’s the capital of the South.”
Cagle said the state offers low taxes, an affordable cost of living, a top-rate workforce, and a favorable regulatory environment. States such as California are going in the opposite direction, he said.
“No one is fleeing Georgia to go to California. It’s just the reverse.”
“And you wonder why people are fleeing,” he said. “The reality is no one is fleeing Georgia to go to California. I mean, it’s just the reverse.”