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Georgia House votes to strip Delta Air Lines of millions in tax breaks after CEO criticizes new voting law

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Firing back

Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Georgia House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to strip Delta Air Lines of a tax break that was worth tens of millions of dollars in response to CEO Ed Bastian's condemnation of Georgia's recently passed voting reform law as "unacceptable."

Georgia's bill, which has been the subject of widespread disinformation and lies by prominent Democratic politicians, has provoked calls for boycotts of Georgia-based corporations by civil rights activists who have argued that these companies should do more to speak out against the law.

As if on command, a number of those corporations or their CEOs issued statements that often repeated false Democratic talking points about the law, including Delta CEO Ed Bastian.

In his statement, Bastian echoed the widely repeated talking point that "could make it harder for many Georgians, particularly those in our Black and Brown communities, to exercise their right to vote." In fact, the bill expands early voting and voting hours and generally made it easier for people of all races to vote — in person.

Bastian condemned the law, stating, "I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta's values." He further promised that Delta would work to support federal legislation that would overturn many of the reforms passed by Georgia's Legislature.

The Georgia House responded to this shot across its bow by reminding Delta that boycott threats are not the only financial implications it needs to fear from its political activism, or lack thereof. The measure, according to Forbes, would have cost Delta "tens of millions of dollars" had it become law.

However, the Georgia Senate adjourned its 2021 session before taking up consideration of the measure, meaning that the bill is for now dead and will not become law.

Still, the action taken by Georgia's House shows that the legislature is willing to defend its prerogatives with financial incentives of its own, and may in the future finalize action against corporations that avail themselves of humongous tax breaks it bestows upon them.

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