It’s been a busy week for Ga. Republicans at the Capitol. Lt. Gov. Cagle started this week by slamming Delta Airlines, Georgia’s biggest employer, for ending discounts for NRA members. He decided to punish the airline by striking a provision that would have given Delta a $50 million dollar tax break on jet fuel.
Deal, apparently angry that Cagle would go to the mat for gun lobbyists by penalizing a Georgia company that employs 33,000 people, said at a press conference he was frustrated that an underlying tax bill was “put at risk by the types of antics that tend to plague election years.” ,
Deal also said he would try to salvage a tax break for Delta despite Cagle’s declaration to “kill any tax legislation” that would benefit the airline, but he didn’t have the spine to actually stop Cagle’s ‘big government’ intervention.
How will punishing Delta affect Atlanta’s chances at landing Amazon? Amazon is often considered a progressive company for many reasons, including its refusal to sell guns on its website.
If Amazon was already hesitant about coming to Atlanta because of Georgia’s conservative lawmakers’ continued assault on gay rights, Cagle’s willingness to punish companies that dare to speak out against gun violence could be the nail in the coffin.
The Georgia Senate passed the final tax bill Thursday, minus the jet fuel tax cut. The bill includes cutting Georgia’s top income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.75 percent — and eventually down to 5.5 percent. So even though Deal didn’t have the gall to stand up to Cagle over Delta, he can still tell his one-percent buddies that he was looking out for them. The bill will also double the standard deduction for all filers.
The problem is that the tax plan was rushed through the legislature without real economic analysis and is likely something that we cannot afford as a state.
For those of you keeping score at home, the real winners here are Cagle, Deal, the NRA and the ultra-wealthy, and the losers are students, teachers and citizens who want things like transit, health care and safe bridges.
Despite their claims, so-called “small-government conservatives” like Casey Cagle are only “pro-business” when it’s convenient. If attracting quality, high-paying employers means losing out on NRA campaign cash or investing in infrastructure, folks like Cagle are about as anti-business as they come.