Yes folks, education tax credits keep rolling right through all of the court challenges that the anti-educational choice crowd can come up with.
On Wednesday, the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona dismissed another frivolous lawsuit against an Arizona tax credit program. Arizona’s individual tax credit was upheld by the state supreme court in 1999 with a wide-ranging decision, and the new corporate tax credit is different in no substantive way.
This is the latest in a long line of education tax credit victories, and opponents of educational freedom are running out of options – even frivolous options – for attacking them.
Although voucher laws have been overturned in two states, tax credits have survived every challenge to date (the Florida Supreme Court handed down an absurd and transparently political decision, and Colorado’s law went down over a “local control” provision).
Certainly, out-of-control judges can make law at will. But education tax credits have serious legal advantages that should prompt more consideration from school choice supporters. The fundamental difference is that vouchers are considered government funds and tax credits are not.
In many states with unsympathetic courts and strict “Blaine” or “compelled support” language prohibiting government funds from being use at sectarian institutions, vouchers are a moot point for legislators. Who wants to stick their neck out on a controversial issue only to have the law tossed out?
Even when a voucher law does survive a challenge – which many have – the legal obstacles are typically higher and more difficult to clear. For instance, the challenge to Arizona’s business tax credit was dismissed in short order (decision appealed of course) while the voucher case still awaits judgment.
The education industrial complex makes getting school choice hard enough … we should go with the more legally viable education tax credits when we can.