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.
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: