Georgia lawmaker threatens to kill Delta state tax breaks over NRA stance

NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The lieutenant governor of Georgia on Monday threatened to block legislation that includes lucrative tax benefits for Delta Air Lines Inc because the Atlanta-based airline dropped a partnership with the National Rifle Association after a public backlash in the wake of the recent Florida school shooting.

"I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA," Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, a Republican, wrote on Twitter. "Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back."

The Feb. 14 massacre of 17 students and educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by a gunman with a legally purchased semiautomatic rifle reignited the nation's long-running debate over gun rights.

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List of companies cutting ties with the NRA
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List of companies cutting ties with the NRA
Delta

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United Airlines

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Hertz

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Avis Budget Group Inc.

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

TrueCar

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Metlife

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Enterprise

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

@enamoredgirl Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA. As a result, First National… https://t.co/uPKwPFMHxo
Allied Van Lines no longer has an affiliate relationship with the NRA effective immediately. We have asked them to… https://t.co/IQlB6e4gzi
northAmerican Van Lines no longer has an affiliate relationship with the NRA effective immediately. We have asked t… https://t.co/VLJCWSldAm
Symantec has stopped its discount program with the National Rifle Association.
@grafinator @NRA Best Western Hotels & Resorts does not have any affiliation with and is not a corporate partner of… https://t.co/eMnkiPN3YW
@iainjgrant Please know, Wyndham is no longer affiliated with the NRA.
Thank you all for your feedback. Paramount Rx issued the statement below. “The prescription discount program that… https://t.co/ZFpIwKlpej
We have made the decision not to renew our discount program with the NRA. We will be asking them to remove our info… https://t.co/4eqO3kUR1W

Chubb Insurance

(Photo credit: Facebook)

Teladoc

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SimpliSafe

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Several U.S. companies are cutting ties with the NRA and gun manufacturers in the wake of the shooting.

On Saturday, Delta and United Airlines Inc said they were no longer offering NRA members discounted rates and they would ask the NRA to remove their information from its website.

Delta said its decision reflected a neutral stance in the heated gun control debate. It said it continues to support the Second Amendment, which grants Americans the right to bear arms.

Delta officials could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday. The airline is one of the largest employers in Georgia.

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Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle
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Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 23: Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle attend Ushers New Look United to Ignite Awards Presidents Circle Luncheon on July 23, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Usher's New Look)
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 23: (L-R) Recording Artist Ludacris,Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and recording artist Usher Raymond attend Ushers New Look United to Ignite Awards Presidents Circle Luncheon on July 23, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Usher's New Look)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 01: Lieutenant Govenor Casey Cagle attends '90 Minutes In Heaven' Atlanta premiere at Fox Theater on September 1, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)
( L-R) Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Diana De Garmo attends the 30th Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards at the Thomas B. Murphy Ballroom, Georgia World Congress Center on September 20, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/WireImage)
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 22: NFL Player Aaron Murray and Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle attend Ushers New Look United to Ignite Awards Exclusive VIP Reception on July 22, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Usher's New Look)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 18: Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle onstage the 2014 Salute To Greatness Awards Dinner at the Hyatt Regency on January 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 14: Nita Cagle and Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle the Red Carpet before the 34th Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards Concert and Show at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center on October 14, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 14: Georgia Governer Nathan Deal, Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal and Nita Cagle Lieutenant Governer Casey Cagle attend the Georgia Music Hall of Fame awards at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center on October 14, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Prince Williams/FilmMagic)
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 23: (L-R) Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle attend Ushers New Look United to Ignite Awards Presidents Circle Luncheon on July 23, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Usher's New Look)
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Cagle's tweet follows a wave of threats to boycott the carrier after Delta's Saturday announcement.

Neither Cagle's office nor the NRA were immediately available for comment.

The Georgia legislature is considering a proposed jet fuel tax exemption designed to benefit Delta, but as of Monday, several state Republicans have threatened to withdraw their support for the provision.

Emory University School of Law Professor Robert Schapiro said that the state has broad discretion in deciding which entities to tax or not tax.

"In terms of legality, the legislature has a broad ability to grant tax exemptions or not grant tax exemptions," Schapiro said. "So it doesn’t violate any constitutional principle" to pull support over the NRA debate.

Cagle is running for governor of the state in the 2018 race.

(Reporting by Alana Wise Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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