May 18-- The President Pro Tempore of the Georgia Senate says passenger upgrades from Delta Airlines played no part in his decision to vote the company a tax break on fuel.
Last year Delta gave Senator Tommie Williams of Lyons and six other key lawmakers flight upgrades valued from $1600 to $2400, however, Williams says he doesn't use them.
"I never used it. It comes in the mail, but I don't use it. I usually buy the cheapest flight I can find. My wife usually goes with me and we don't upgrade," he reports.
This year the legislature gave Delta a two-year break on fuel taxes estimated to save the company $30 million. Williams voted for the bill after trying unsuccesfully to get it changed.
"I don't have problems with the policy of the bill. However, my approach was to help them when they need it the most. If fuel goes down to two dollars, they don't need our help. I didn't win that in the end, but I worked hard to get it in the bill. I got it in the Senate version, but it didn't pass both sides," he notes.
Senator Williams says Georgia needs to be a business-friendly state and support companies like Delta which brings thousands of jobs to the state, however, "I think I've got a fairly good reputation among lobbyists that if I feel strongly about an issue, it doesn't matter how much campaign money you've given me, I'm going to be against you on principle," he says.