Delta CEO: Ending NRA discount was attempt to be neutral

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One good sign for Georgia is that the company has refused to respond to petitions demanding that they remove the NRA's public relations channel from the Amazon Fire streaming device. The day before Delta announced it would reconsider discounts for "politically divisive" groups, Georgia's legislature passed a tax bill. But the group had also downplayed the importance of Delta's action, saying the "loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission".

Delta Airlines said Friday that they only sold 13 tickets under their group travel discount for the National Rifle Association.

"I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA", Cagle tweeted.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, a Republican running for governor, helped lead the push to remove the benefit.

Cagle wrote: "We can not continue to allow large companies to treat conservatives differently than other customers".

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"If Delta isn't looking to move and someone else is, then maybe we can pull them in and bring jobs to our state", he said.

Chuck Hufstetler, the Republican chairman of the state's Senate Finance Committee, told CNN on Friday that he was satisfied with the Delta CEO's memo. "We had to send a message that we're not going to support crony capitalism in Georgia".

Deal signed the tax bill into law March 2.

Bastian said he has great respect and admiration for Deal, who had worked to include the tax provision before it was removed.

But Delta's decision last weekend to stop the discounted fares for the NRA triggered a showdown with pro-gun Republican lawmakers in Georgia. A number of US companies have rescinded discounts previously offered to NRA members.

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Another GOP candidate for governor, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, even suggested using the estimated $38 million the state would save by killing jet fuel tax break to pay for a tax-free "holiday" on purchases of guns and ammunition. He said the company's "values are not for sale" and "we are proud and honored to locate our headquarters here". This decision followed the NRA's controversial statements after the recent school shootings in Florida.

But what he's known for right now around the country is his reaction against Delta removing a discount on NRA members' flights to their annual meeting. "That is not the case".

The proposed tax break at the center of the debate impacts the cost of jet fuel.

Delta controls 73 per cent of the market at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, while Southwest Airlines Co. has 11 per cent. But in his letter Friday, Bastian assured Delta workers that it plans to stay put.

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