Georgia’s GOP Hikes Taxes on Major Ally for Opposing Its Jim Crow Law
Republicans are occasionally so blinded by their own nonsense that they inadvertently do the right thing, even if it happens to be for the wrong reasons.
Late Wednesday night, the Georgia State House of Representatives passed a bill that eliminates a jet fuel tax break for Delta Airlines after its chief executive officer, Ed Bastian, circulated a memo condemning SB 202, the nation’s latest Jim Crow voter ID law.
“The final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values. The right to vote is sacred. It is fundamental to our democracy and those rights not only need to be protected but easily facilitated in a safe and secure manner,” wrote Bastian. “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 97 Republican to 73 Democrat vote was unusually bipartisan, which is not all that surprising given the Democratic Party’s desire to increase corporate tax rates.
Atlanta-based Delta is Georgia’s largest private employer with 33,000 people on its payroll. If the GOP-controlled State Senate and Republican Governor Brian Kemp decide that the bill should become law, the airline would be slapped with tens of millions of dollars in tax hikes.
Delta also faced swift backlash online.
“The controversy did not end after the bill was signed. Delta’s statement resulted in calls for a boycott on social media, where the hashtag #BoycottDelta was tweeted 38,000 times over the course of a few days,” Judd Legum noted on his Popular Information blog on Thursday.
Keeping corporate tax rates as low as possible is a foundational gospel for the Republican Party, unless, as Wednesday’s events suggest, someone hurts their feelings.
But this is not the first time that the Georgia GOP has punished Delta for making statements that are contrary to its agenda.
In 2018, Republicans repealed a proposed tax break for Delta after it blasted the National Rifle Association following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.