Georgia House Passes Bill To Strip Delta Of $35M Tax Break After CEO Flipped On Election Law Support

The Georgia House of Representatives voted on Wednesday for an amendment that would strip Delta Air Line’s multi-million dollar tax break on jet fuel after the CEO of the Atlanta-based carrier flip-flopped on his support over new election laws in the state. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the Election Integrity Act of 2021 that introduced amendments to the state’s election procedures — meant to increase the security and address issues that were raised during the tight 2020 election between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

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Delta initially supported key components of the bill after the Republican governor signed it into law last week, only for Delta CEO Ed Bastian to backtrack their support later on, “amid calls for boycotts pushed by left-wing publications” as well as progressive executives who spoke against the new Georgia election law.

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“I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values,” Bastian wrote in his memo to employees Wednesday, going further as saying that the amendments made were “based on a lie.” 

“The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections. This is simply not true. Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights,” the Delta CEO added in his memo titled “Your Right To Vote.“

Bastian said the new voting restrictions will make it harder for underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect representatives in the state.

Kemp: Delta changed didn’t raise concerns earlier

Governor Kemp, however, noted that at “no point” did Delta raise objections with his office about some of the controversial provisions in the proposal before it was signed into law.

“Today’s statement by Delta CEO Ed Bastian stands in stark contrast to our conversations with the company, ignores the content of the new law, and unfortunately continues to spread the same false attacks being repeated by partisan activists,” he said.

The GOP-led House, dismayed by Bastian’s sudden flip-flopping on his support for the law election overhaul, hit back at Delta by passing a measure that would end the lucrative $35 million annual jet fuel tax break of the company, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“They like our public policy when we’re doing things that benefit them,” House Speaker David Ralston was quoted as saying. “You don’t feed a dog that bites your hand. You gotta keep that in mind sometimes.”

Senator Tom Cotton blasted Delta for flip-flopping on its support.

Heres @Deltas own statement praising the same law that Delta is now lying about,” the Arkansas senator said.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida also slammed Bastian for being selective in what he condemns.

I look forward to that letter saying genocide does not reflect the values of Delta Airlines,” he said.

 

The amendment introduced was a provision to tax bill HB 477 which added new levies on jet fuel to Delta as of July 1.

Following Bastian’s comments, Governor Kemp said: “I would encourage these CEOs to look at other states they’re doing business in and compare the facts to what’s happening in Georgia. If they want to have a debate about the merits, the facts, of the bill then we should do that.”

Coca-Cola chief also blasts new Georgia election law

Aside from the Delta CEO, another executive of a Georgia-based multinational, came forward to oppose the new Georgia election law.

Appearing on CNBC, James Quincey, Coca-Cola’s chief executive, said the legislation was “wrong” and urged lawmakers to revisit the proposal.

“This legislation is unacceptable. It’s a step backwards and it does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia around broad access to voting, around voter convenience, about ensuring election integrity,” Quincey said

The state’s far-ranging new election law included provisions for new ID requirements for mail-in votes, limiting the use of ballot drop boxes as well as giving the state’s Legislature more reign on election matters over local elections officials. It also bans volunteers from handing out food, water and other tokens to voters in waiting lines.

“With Senate Bill 202, Georgia will take another step toward ensuring our elections are secure, accessible and fair,” Governor Kemp said when he signed the bill.

“Ensuring the integrity of the ballot box isn’t partisan, it’s about protecting the very foundation of who we are as Georgians and Americans.”

Steeve Strange

Steeve is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Scoop.

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