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The Latest: Legislature OKs $4OM tax break for airlines

November 17, 2018

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the special session of the Georgia legislature (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

Georgia lawmakers’ five-day special session has ended with the Senate giving final approval to a tax break that will save airlines $40 million before the perk expires next summer.

The state Senate voted 43-9 on Saturday to approve a tax exemption on jet fuel that got defeated during the regular session in February. That’s when Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Republican senators scrapped the tax break to punish Delta Air Lines for ending fare discounts to members of the National Rifle Association.

Gov. Nathan Deal salvaged the tax break with an executive order last summer. The special session required the Senate and House to vote on ratifying that order. But the exemption expires June 30.

That gun-rights debate didn’t resurface during the special session that began Tuesday, though some critics questioned whether commercial airlines deserved a perk during a session otherwise devoted to hurricane relief.

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10:40 a.m.

Georgia lawmakers have given final approval to $470 million in emergency aid and tax credits for communities devastated by Hurricane Michael.

The state Senate voted unanimously Saturday on bills that cleared the House earlier this week. The spending measures now go to Gov. Nathan Deal to sign into law.

Deal called the special legislative session seeking immediate financial help for southern Georgia after the hurricane destroyed and damaged homes and businesses, ruined crops and smashed vast acreage of timberland across the region in October.

The funding includes $69 million to help state and local agencies cover emergency response costs, $55 million to assist farmers suffering crop losses and $20 million for cleanup efforts on timberland.

There’s also a $200 million tax credit to encourage landowners to replant commercial timber.

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