Georgia Republicans may be giving Amazon a reason not to put its second headquarters in the city of Atlanta.
In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, many businesses decided to no longer give discounts to card-carrying members of the National Rifle Association. One of those businesses was the Atlanta-based Delta Airlines. The decision ticked off Republicans in Georgia’s legislature, with Lt. Gov. Chris Cagle—who is running for governor in 2018—calling Delta’s decision an affront to conservatives. In a tit-for-tat, discount-for-discount scheme, on Monday, Republican lawmakers decided to block a potentially $40 million tax exemption until the airline reverses its decision.
The Republicans’ tax-based temper tantrum could cause a chilling ripple effect for businesses: As the New York Times points out, gun control may now join other “hot-button cultural topics”—like LGBTQ rights, immigration protections, and marriage equality—at odds with the values espoused by national and global corporations, making them hesitant to relocate or expand to the South. Georgia conservatives have already filed a “religious liberties” bill, which many view as anti-LGBT, as well as a group of immigration bills.
While Amazon had Atlanta on its short list as a site for the company’s HQ2, the company’s initial call for relocation proposals included “Cultural Community Fit” as a priority, noting that it requires a community with a “diverse population.” Since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos donates to many pro-LGBT causes, and has given large amounts of money to fund scholarships for young immigrants, it’s hard to see Georgia as a good fit right now.