New Hampshire’s Supreme Court last month cited that federal ruling in dismissing a similar challenge to that state’s tax-credit scholarship program. It is hard to see why Georgia courts should reach a different conclusion.
The arguments will also be about whether Georgia’s program deprives our state’s students of critical education funding, particularly after years of budget cuts. It will be fascinating to see how they conclude that increasing education spending by 0.4 percent will be a real boost, when sending these children back to public schools would increase their enrollment by 0.8 percent, or twice as much.
The amount of spending on these tax-credit scholarships is publicly reported. In each of the past three years, spending on each public school student in Georgia (about $8,500 over that time, including local dollars) has been more than double the amount of tax credits claimed per scholarship recipient (less than $4,000).
What’s more, starting with 2013 we also have information about the finances of these recipients’ families. Legislators mandated this information be reported amid allegations the money was simply going to a bunch of rich kids.
Those allegations turned out to be false: More than three-quarters of scholarship kids in 2013 come from families whose adjusted gross income is $62,201 or less. Almost half of the families had an AGI of less than $30,0000.
Like other school-choice programs in Georgia, demand for these scholarships and the tax credits that fund them far exceeds their supply. Perhaps the only thing that outstrips demand for these programs is the determination of education status-quoists to shut them down.
They’re welcome to keep hiring lawyers to make their arguments. But that doesn’t mean judges ought to give them any credence.