The tax fight between a Georgia school system and Delta Air Lines took a nasty turn Wednesday, with the local school superintendent alleging that the multi-billion dollar company is accusing his administration of “sharing falsehoods.”
Clayton County schools Superintendent Morcease Beasley issued a statement Wednesday morning about a letter to Delta employees. “The communication seems to intimate that our school system has been sharing falsehoods,” Beasley said.
He didn’t specify the offending statement in the letter that Delta executive vice president Joanne Smith sent to Delta “people” who live in Clayton Tuesday (and to the media).
Smith’s letter doesn’t accuse anyone of lying but does say the company has repeatedly told Clayton that Delta doesn’t want to see a funding shortfall for its schools as a sales tax on jet fuel is phased out. “Statements to the contrary from the school superintendent are simply not correct,” she said.
Beasley’s biting rebuke says he was led to believe the airline and his district were on a path to a “positive and productive” relationship, but then he got a copy of the letter. He said it was “disheartening” that a corporation with billions in revenue would try to eke some extra money “at the expense” of Clayton students and residents, including the 5,000 Delta employees who live there.
The war of words stems from House Bill 821, a proposal in the Georgia General Assembly backed by Delta. It would end a statewide and local sales tax on jet fuel, costing Clayton’s schools and government nearly $20 million a year.
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