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Georgia GOP leader threatens Delta over cutting its NRA ties

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ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's lieutenant governor on Monday threatened to prevent Delta Air Lines from getting a lucrative tax cut after the company ended its discount program with the National Rifle Association.

Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, president of the state Senate and a leading candidate to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal, tweeted that he would use his position to kill a proposed sales tax exemption on jet fuel.

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

"Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back."More than a dozen companies, including Metlife, Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Best Western, Wyndham and United Airlines have ended NRA partnerships since 17 students and teachers were killed in a school shooting in Florida.

The news comes as Delta, one of the state's largest employers, appeared close to convincing lawmakers to restore a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta would be the prime beneficiary of the tax cut.

The proposed exemption had been part of Deal's larger tax overhaul, which has passed the House and awaits Senate input.

Delta said in a statement that it supports the Second Amendment and its decision "reflects the airline's neutral status" in the national debate over guns.

The airline also pointed out that last year it withdrew sponsorship from a theater than staged a controversial "Julius Caesar" production that depicted the assassination of a Donald Trump look-alike.

ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Andrea Young criticized Cagle's move and highlighted Atlanta's status as a finalist for the location of Amazon's second U.S. headquarters.

"Politicians should not use taxpayer dollars to impose ideological litmus tests and punish organizations that express views that politicians dislike. Amazon should take note," Young said in an emailed statement.

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