Thursday, March 05, 2015

Alabama Supreme Court Upholds State's Tuition and Scholarship Tax Credit Law

In Magee v. Boyd, (AL Sup. Ct., March 2, 2015), the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality under the state constitution of Alabama's law creating a refundable income tax credit to parent of students in failing schools to be used to pay to transfer them to other public or private schools. It also upheld tax credits for contributions to scholarship organizations that grant opportunity scholarships to students in failing schools.  In a 145-page opinion, the majority rejected procedural challenges to the law's enactment.  It rejected challenges under Alabama's Blaine amendments, finding that tax credits do not amount to appropriations for purposes of the state constitution's limits on appropriation to schools not under state control (Sec. 73) or to sectarian or denominational schools (Sec. 263).  It also concluded that the law does not violate Sec. 3, the religion clauses of the state constitution.  Six justices joined the majority opinion. Two justices concurred in part, and one justice dissented. AP reported on the decision.