By Lisa Needham
In January, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a case that could result in states being required to use taxpayer money to fund religious education.
The case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, asks whether Montana must provide tax credits for scholarships to private religious schools. With the addition of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Court, conservatives may finally have the Supreme Court that would give them what they want: a way to funnel taxpayer dollars into religious schools.
There are a number of ways that Christian schools have attempted to access public tax dollars over the years. In 2015, the Montana legislature created a scholarship program that provided up to $150 of tax credits for individuals who donate to private scholarship organizations. Those private scholarship organizations, in turn, only fund private schools—which in Montana are overwhelmingly religious. The Montana Department of Revenue realized that this would amount to taxpayer aid to religious schools and issued a rule saying sectarian schools couldn’t receive any funds from those private scholarship organizations.
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