Georgia Lawmakers Pass Bill That Stings Delta Over N.R.A. Position

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers approved a bill on Thursday that stripped out a tax break proposal highly coveted by Delta Air Lines — the most stinging punishment that America’s pro-gun forces have leveled so far on one of the many corporations recalibrating their positions on firearms after the Florida high school massacre.

The $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel that was sought by Delta, one of Georgia’s biggest employers, had been included in a broader tax-relief bill. But this week, a number of Georgia Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, removed the perk as retribution for Delta’s decision to end a promotional discount for members of the National Rifle Association.

Delta, in announcing the policy change, said it was trying to remain “neutral” in a national gun debate that has been rekindled by a gunman’s attack at a school in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead. A number of other major American companies, including the car rental company Hertz and MetLife insurance, have also ended relationships with the N.R.A. since the shooting on Feb. 14.

On Thursday, the Georgia Senate overwhelmingly approved a version of the bill without the jet-fuel tax break. The House, which had already approved a version of the bill, overwhelmingly approved the change. Both houses are controlled by Republicans.

The legislation now goes to the desk of the Republican governor, Nathan Deal, who has pledged to sign it into law. But Mr. Deal is a supporter of the jet-fuel tax break, and he said that he would only sign the bill because it also included a significant reduction in personal and corporate tax rates.

Content originally published on https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/01/business/delta-nra-georgia.html by RICHARD FAUSSET