The Arizona Court of Appeals handed school choice supporters a victory last week, upholding the constitutionality of a state tax break for businesses that make donations to help pay for tuition grants for students attending private schools.
A split three-judge panel’s majority opinion said the state corporate-income-tax credit “passes constitutional muster” because it doesn’t violate state or federal constitutional provisions dealing with religion and education. The credit serves a valid nonreligious educational purpose without directly aiding religion, according to the opinion signed by Judges John Gemmill and Patricia Norris.
The Court of Appeals’ decision, which upheld a 2007 ruling by a trial judge, cited a 1999 Arizona Supreme Court decision that upheld a similar dollar-for-dollar individual-income-tax credit for donations for private school tuition grants.
Supporters of the corporate tax credit said it would enable more parents to send their children to the schools of their choice.
A version of this article appeared in the March 18, 2009 edition of Education Week