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DansDeals Forum => Just Shmooze => Topic started by: Yonah on January 23, 2020, 12:50:54 PM

Title: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: Yonah on January 23, 2020, 12:50:54 PM
This is a very interesting case - the TL;DR:
- Montana had a law that gave tax credits for private school scholarship donations of $150
- A woman named Kendra Espinoza applied for the credits for her two kids enrolled in Catholic school.
- The Montana Dept. of Revenue denied her claim, because the school was religious.
- She's suing the state on the grounds that it unfairly discriminated against her because it should extend the credit to religious schools.
- After the suit, the state pulled the tax credit.

Here is some coverage of the case:
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/scotus-hears-arguments-in-major-school-choice-case
https://www.npr.org/2020/01/23/798668729/supreme-court-could-be-headed-to-a-major-unraveling-of-public-school-funding

While I'd love to get more for my tax $$, I also understand the value of a strong public school system (I enrolled one of my children in our local public school system for a couple of years because of learning issues).

My understanding is that if Espinoza wins, it opens the door for school choice initiatives around the country to include religious options. While parents of kids in private schools would love the help, parents with kids in public schools, are worried that it would erode their public school budgets.

Curious to see how this plays out.
Title: Re: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: CountValentine on January 23, 2020, 12:58:49 PM
In their original tax credit plan did it state public schools only or exclude private schools?
Title: Re: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: Yammer on January 23, 2020, 01:13:25 PM

My understanding is that if Espinoza wins, it opens the door for school choice initiatives around the country to include religious options. While parents of kids in private schools would love the help, parents with kids in public schools, are worried that it would erode their public school budgets.

Curious to see how this plays out.

This is the foundation of the public/charter/private school debate...
Title: Re: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: zh cohen on January 23, 2020, 01:14:41 PM
In their original tax credit plan did it state public schools only or exclude private schools?


- Montana had a law that gave tax credits for private school scholarship donations of $150
Title: Re: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: CountValentine on January 23, 2020, 01:19:10 PM

Ok I missed it. They denied it because it was a "religious" private school?
Title: Re: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: zh cohen on January 23, 2020, 01:27:50 PM
Ok I missed it. They denied it because it was a "religious" private school?
Not a lawyer, but it seems like the state denied her claimed credit because it was a religious school.

The Montana Supreme Court agreed with her that based on the law should have gotten the credit, but therefore invalidated the entire law (for both religious and secular schools) because it was a violation of a clause in the Montana Constitution that prohibits funding of religious schools.

The Supreme Court is now considering whether that clause in the Montana Constitution is discriminatory. If they decide it is, then presumably the Montana Supreme Court ruling that the law is invalid would be reversed and the state would have to give the credit to all private schools.
Title: Re: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: avromie7 on January 23, 2020, 01:53:39 PM

Title: Re: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: Yonah on January 23, 2020, 01:56:35 PM
This is the foundation of the public/charter/private school debate...


To some degree - firstly, charter schools are in fact, public schools that were granted a 'charter' outside of the standard school system. So they don't fall into this category (typically).

This ruling also necessarily won't force districts to provide funding for private schools where it didn't exist, but would not allow them to exclude religious schools from any private school funding effort.

Put differently: It won't force a state to fund Yeshivas, but if the state gave tax credits to parents of private schoolers, it couldn't exclude yeshiva parents from those credits.
Title: Re: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: Dawie on January 23, 2020, 02:05:38 PM
and the other side of the coin in allowing for tuition to be at least partially Deductible as a donation (intangible religious Benefit)
Sklar vs Commissioner in the Ninth Circuit http://www.jlaw.com/Briefs/sklar.html
Arizona Christian vs Winn http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2009/10/20/05-15754o.pdf
Title: Re: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: avromie7 on January 23, 2020, 02:06:36 PM
Title: Re: Supreme Court Case - Espinoza v. Montana
Post by: Yonah on January 23, 2020, 03:19:14 PM
and the other side of the coin in allowing for tuition to be at least partially Deductible as a donation (intangible religious Benefit)
Sklar vs Commissioner in the Ninth Circuit http://www.jlaw.com/Briefs/sklar.html
Arizona Christian vs Winn http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2009/10/20/05-15754o.pdf

At first glance the Arizona case seems to be the opposite of this one, but it's not quite that.

This case suggests that the deductions only apply to non-sectarian schools
That case suggests that all though the deductions apply equally to everyone, there should be no tax benefit to scholarship funds that only fund religious schools.

In the first case, religious people have no recourse.
In the second case, secular people have recourse to donate to other funds.