They came so close. But like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, you just knew they were going to blow it.
On the final day of the 2021 legislative session, the Georgia House passed legislation that would revoke major tax exemption for Delta Airlines, after the company intervened to protest the state’s new election law. For a brief moment, embers of hope were kindled in the hearts of nationalists. Were state-level Republicans finally breaking free from their subservience to woke megacorporations that despise and ridicule them?
Alas, no. Right after the Georgia House passed the bill, the state senate declined to even take it up. The measure died, and Georgia’s legislative sessions closed that night. Delta still has its big tax break. It was all for show.
This is why Republicans always lose. Instead of making corporate power serve the interests of the state and its people, they get the relationship backwards, and beg for scraps from companies that are openly allied with their enemies.
There is nothing extreme about the Georgia election reform bill. It bans the pseudo-bribery of voters by giving free food and drinks to those who arrive at polling stations. It cuts the state’s exhausting 9-week runoff period down to a more reasonable four weeks. And most importantly, the bill requires photo ID for voting absentee by mail, which doesn’t make fraud impossible but does make it substantially more burdensome to commit.
The bill is reasonable and restrained. It is far less ambitious than the bill Republicans initially hoped to pass. No matter. Democrats have summoned woke capital to threaten the state and treat it like apartheid-era South Africa for making moderate revisions to its election laws. Coca-Cola dutifully trashed the bill on Wednesday, and Delta did the same.
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The only valid response to such threats is to put capital in its place. The people rule in Georgia, not woke corporations. But Georgia Republicans are too weak to do that.
Like so many states, nominally “free market” Georgia gives preferential treatment to certain powerful or favored companies. Right now, state law exempts jet fuel from the state sales tax. The exemption, which costs the state about $40 million a year, is primarily meant to benefit Delta, which uses Atlanta as its primary global hub. Delta turned a $4.8 billion profit in 2019, so there is no sensible reason to give it such a tax break, unless it is providing some exceptional benefit to the people of Georgia.
But of course, the opposite is the case. Delta has openly placed itself in opposition to their interests. In 2018, Delta showed its subservience to the left when it revoked a discount for NRA members in response to the Parkland school shooting. At the time, Georgia lawmakers were considering implementing the jet fuel tax break as part of a larger bill. In response to Delta’s behavior, the GOP House jettisoned it from the final bill.
Georgia lawmakers voted to punish Delta Air Lines Inc. on Thursday, passing a sweeping tax bill that excludes a tax break that would have saved the airline millions of dollars.
In a tweet Monday, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he would ““kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta” unless the airline rescinded its decision to end a discount for National Rifle Association members. “Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” he said. [MarketWatch]
It was tough talk. But of course, the state GOP didn’t have the courage to back it up. Not even five months later, the state’s Republican leader resurrected the tax break on his own.
Georgia’s governor on Monday made good on his vow to restore a tax cut on jet fuel sales that was previously killed by state GOP lawmakers irate with Delta Air Lines for ending a discount for members of the National Rifle Association.
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal issued an executive order suspending collection of the state’s 4 percent sales tax on jet fuel beginning Aug. 1. The Georgia General Assembly could reinstate the tax when it reconvenes for the 2019 legislative session in January. [AP]
A few months later, the Georgia legislature codified Deal’s workaround into law. The NRA stunt was over, and Delta still got exactly what it wanted.