Guest / Limited Access /

Eight years after declaring school vouchers to be constitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court is assessing version 2.0 of school choice efforts: tax credits.

The Court heard oral arguments November 3 over the constitutionality of Arizona's dollar-for-dollar tax credits for those who give money to scholarship organizations, most of which benefit religious schools. Some Arizona taxpayers argue that this setup violates the First Amendment.

"People have moved to tax credits versus vouchers because it's easier as a political matter to convince legislatures," said Eric Rassbach, national litigation director at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. "It has definitely been a trend in school choice movements."

Supporters believe the Court will uphold the credits because the government doesn't decide where the money goes. Opponents argue the credits disproportionately help religious schools.

If the Court allows the credits, it will solidify similar incentives in 13 other states, said Rassbach. If it strikes them down, the ruling will have a "devastating" effect on charitable deductions, tax exemptions for religious organizations, and any other tax treatment that "disproportionately" benefits religious organizations, he said.

It would also be devastating for the 28,000 students who split $55 million in scholarships last year, said Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Foundation for Educational Choice, a leading vouchers advocate.

The tax credits have had "far [greater] impact for religious schools than you'd think," Enlow said. "Eighty percent of private schooling in America is currently religious, so the primary beneficiaries of children armed with choice will be religious private schools."

But the growth has been less effective than Jeff ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Readers Write
Your responses to the October 2010 issue of Christianity Today.
RecommendedTrump’s Supreme Court Pick: Religious Freedom Defender Neil Gorsuch
Trump’s Supreme Court Pick: Religious Freedom Defender Neil Gorsuch
Scholarly Denver judge who ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby would fill Scalia's seat as the court's only Protestant.
TrendingWhy Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Why Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Regardless of court fight’s final outcome, fewer persecuted Christians will make it to America under president’s plan.
Editor's PickChallenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Challenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Black Southern Baptists weigh in on the issues around removing Sho Baraka’s album.
Christianity Today
School Choice 2.0
hide thisDecember December

In the Magazine

December 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.