2/28/18 - Atlanta - Gov. Nathan Deal held a press conference to address the jet fuel tax cut issue after the Senate Rules Committee stripped the Delta tax cut from legislation. Gov. Nathan Deal and legislative leaders had hoped they could make a deal Wednesday on the Delta fuel tax legislation - which also includes a state income tax rate cut. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

GOP spin to Amazon: NRA dustup shows Georgia’s ‘diversity’ 

A common theme is emerging from Georgia GOP leaders asked about how the state’s feud with Delta Air Lines could impact the bid for Amazon’s second headquarters: The Seattle-based tech giant might appreciate some red-state conservatism. 

Gov. Nathan Deal conceded that the Legislature’s decision to punish Delta after it cut ties with the National Rifle Association doesn’t help the state’s pitch for Amazon’s 50,000 jobs. But he said the fracas could show off another side of the Peach State. 

“If you’re looking for a state with diversity, welcome to the state of Georgia. We are a very diverse state. Diversity is not only represented by the color of someone’s skin or their party allegiance, it’s also represented by diversity of different opinions,” Deal said Wednesday. “I think they understand that.” 

He was echoed a day later by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who as head of the Senate blocked a lucrative jet fuel tax break for Delta by saying he would “kill” the incentive unless the airline reversed course. 

“Georgia has some wonderful economic development announcements that are going to go forward. But within that context, there is diversity in thought,” Cagle said Thursday. “And that diversity in thought, as a state, makes us better. It makes me as an individual better.” 

Both officials ticked off other assets, including low tax rates, the state’s workforce and Georgia’s ranking as the top place to do business by a niche business publication. 


Delta Air Lines has had its headquarters in Atlanta since 1941. Founder C.E. Woolman moved the airline’s headquarters from Monroe, La., to Atlanta.

The Republican governor also said he recently met with Delta chief executive Ed Bastian to settle nerves over the airline’s rejection. Deal said he also had a blunt message in that sit-down: “We didn’t start this.” 

“Delta made an action that caused this dispute to erupt. I’ve tried my best to resolve it, I’m still hopeful that some of those feelings and positions can be rectified. ... There are a lot of people who share the blame that happened here. I’m not putting the blame just on folks who have been outspoken on this issue.”

Read the rest of story: Georgia Senate approves income tax rate cut, sans Delta break

And read more of the AJC’s recent Delta coverage:

Deal says yes to Georgia income tax cut, no to Delta - for now 

The Delta/NRA flap morphs into a campaign tool 

Democrat wants state to probe whether Cagle’s Delta threat violated law 

Amid NRA-Delta tax break fight, others woo airline’s headquarters 

Williams gets squeezed on CNN with Delta ‘Planned Parenthood’ claim

On Delta, the NRA, and a troubling climate for an Amazon bid 

White House sidesteps Georgia’s Delta-NRA fight  

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  


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.