Secretary of State Brian Kemp addresses the public during a transportation policy forum at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. Kemp says lack of high-speed internet is a problem that puts many rural Georgians at a disadvantage. (REANN HUBER/REANN.HUBER@AJC.COM)
Photo: PolitiFact Georgia
Photo: PolitiFact Georgia

Georgia gov candidate calls for gun sales tax break after Delta rift

Secretary of State Brian Kemp upped the ante on his opposition to a Delta Air Lines tax break.

The Republican candidate for governor joined a chorus of conservatives opposing the sales tax exemption over the weekend after the Atlanta-based airline broke business ties with the National Rifle Association.

Early Tuesday, though, he added another facet to his plan. Rather than back the $50 million jet fuel tax exemption, lawmakers should spend their time debating a sales tax holiday for guns and ammunition. The tax break would span the July 4 holiday.

"Instead of giving millions of our hard-earned tax dollars to billion-dollar businesses that want to disarm law-abiding citizens,” said Kemp, “we should give a tax break to hardworking Georgians who want to protect their families and loved ones from criminal aliens, terrorists and gang members.”

All five leading GOP contenders for governor have come out against the tax break for Delta. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who heads the Senate, effectively blocked it for now by saying he would not support the tax break until Delta reverses course. 

The two Democratic candidates for governor, former state legislators Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans, used the GOP revolt over the state’s largest private employer to paint the Republican contenders as beholden to special interests. 

Gov. Nathan Deal, meanwhile, has remained silent on the plan. He and other supporters of the tax break spent part of the day trying to regroup in search of a path forward for the proposal, which they say will help Atlanta compete with other air hubs that don’t levy sales tax on jet fuel. 

Read more recent AJC coverage on the Delta tax break:

After Delta’s snub, airline invited to fly HQ north to New York 

Georgia Republicans send Delta tax break into tailspin

New York, Birmingham woo Delta headquarters amid NRA-tax break fight

Amid Delta/NRA fracas, a new gun bill makes a surprise appearance

Delta severs ties with NRA, risking lucrative state tax break

Suddenly, a trio of major headaches for Georgia’s governor 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.