May 7, 2015

The spirit of Doc Holiday is still alive and well in Georgia. He was the Georgia dentist who made his name as a gambler and gun slinger in the old west.

Recently, the CEO of Delta Airlines declared the Georgia Legislature should raise taxes for transportation. Georgia politicians called his bluff. They repealed the $16 million sales tax exemption Delta Airlines gets on jet fuel. The money will go to airports. That’s transportation. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Years ago, when airlines were going through a revolving door in bankruptcy court, Georgia and North Carolina gave big tax breaks on jet fuel the airlines buy. The tax breaks were supposedly about keeping the airlines afloat amid buckets of red ink.

US Air in Charlotte received a $12 million a year tax break nearly a decade ago. Now, US Air is American Airlines and with their debts purged in bankruptcy, they are coining money hand over fist. American Airlines made over a billion dollars just in the first quarter of 2015. (Forbes)


But American Airlines says they still need their special tax break. Conservative reformers in the State Senate say not so fast. Under law, the tax break is expiring and the Senate hasn’t extended it. In the House, however, Legislators, who ran as fiscal conservatives opposed special interest tax breaks, are extending the tax break for American Airlines.

Unlike the boys and girls in the Georgia Legislature who learned how to play poker and called Delta’s bluff, the North Carolina House is having a hard time kicking the special interest tax break habit. Delta hasn’t abandoned Georgia and American isn’t going to abandon North Carolina over $12 million when they are making billions.

Conservative Senators agree with the majority of North Carolinians that we will create more jobs by cutting business taxes across the board instead of for individual corporations who lobby the right people.

Incidentally, American has hired the law firm where the Governor used to work to lobby for the tax break. If the Legislature is smart, they will kill it and save the Governor from another specious Democrat attack on his ethics.