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SCOTUS to hear appeal of Montana scholarship tax credit ruling

Monday, July 1, 2019   (0 Comments)
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The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal of a Montana Supreme Court ruling that said religious schools cannot participate in a program that used tax credits to reimburse scholarship donations.

The Institute for Justice, a conservative law firm representing Montana parents, argues that excluding religious schools from the program violates the U.S. Constitution.

The 2015 Montana Legislature approved the tax credit program allowing up to a $150 tax credit for donations to scholarships for students who want to attend a private school. The Montana Department of Revenue implemented rules preventing schools with religious ties from qualifying for those scholarships, determining that would violate the Montana Constitution.

A group of parents of Montana religious school students sued the Department of Revenue, and a Montana district court judge sided with the parents, saying the tax credit was constitutional. The Montana Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision, reversed the district court saying the tax credit program violated the Montana Constitution’s strict prohibition on aid to sectarian schools.