Lawmakers in Georgia voted on Thursday to pass a statewide tax measure without a tax break that would have benefited Atlanta-based Delta Airlines. The move was a direct retaliation for the company’s decision to end its relationship with the National Rifle Association in the wake of the Parkland shooting.
The bill passed the Georgia Senate by a vote of 44–10, with only Democrats voting against the measure. It passed the House 135–24.
The state’s lieutenant governor, Casey Cagle, was the first to float the idea of punishing Delta after its announcement that it would no longer provide discounted airfare to NRA members traveling to the gun lobby’s annual meeting—one of several high-profile corporate partnerships with the NRA which were canceled after the Parkland shooting.
Leading up to Thursday’s vote, Cagle insisted on Fox News that it was wrong for the company to have “[singled] out the NRA and their membership, law-abiding gun owners.”
After the bill’s passage on Thursday, Cagle appeared to soften his rhetoric, but showed no sign of regretting having attacked the company.
“Obviously the political environment does sometimes get a little testy,” Cagle said. “But in the end, it’s all about the product.”
Republican Governor Nathan Deal had previously criticized Cagle’s action as an “unbecoming squabble.” He told ABC News he’d sign the tax bill, and work to give Delta its tax break—estimated to be worth $40 million—separately.