Georgia governor says he would sign bill without Delta tax break in NRA fight

CNN anchor questions Georgia lawmaker over Delta
CNN anchor questions Georgia lawmaker over Delta

Georgia's governor says he would sign a bill depriving Delta (DAL) of a hefty tax break — a change made by Republicans after the airline cut ties with the NRA.

Governor Nathan Deal, himself a Republican, said the legislation had been put at risk by political "antics." But he said he would sign it anyway because it cuts taxes.

"Disagreement on key issues of our time should not prevent Georgians from keeping more of their hard-earned dollars," he said at a press conference Wednesday.

Republicans in the state Senate stripped a tax exemption for jet fuel out of the bill after Delta ended a discount for NRA members flying to their annual meeting. The exemption would save Delta as much as $50 million.

Delta was one of roughly a dozen companies that cut ties with the NRA after 17 students and staff were shot to death at a high school in Florida.

Related: Georgia Republicans threaten to stop Delta tax break over NRA decision

The bill could go to the Senate floor as early as Thursday. It still has to go back to the House before it goes to the governor.

Deal said he would find "a pathway forward for the elimination of sales tax on jet fuel, which is non-negotiable."

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, a Republican who is running for governor, said earlier in the week that companies can't "attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.".

Delta has yet to respond publicly to the lawmakers.

Related: Virginia and New York tell Delta: You're welcome here

Delta, headquartered in Atlanta, is one of the state's largest employers. Democrats in other states took the opportunity to invite the airline to do business with them instead.

"Virginia is for lovers and airline hubs," Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said on Twitter. "You're welcome here any time."

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