Foundation Welcomes Ga. High Court Ruling on Tax Credit Scholarships

For Immediate Release
June 26, 2017

Contact: Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation | (404) 256-4050 

Foundation Welcomes Ga. High Court Ruling on Tax Credit Scholarships

Atlanta – The Georgia Supreme Court ruled today that the state’s Qualified Education Tax Credit (tuition tax credit scholarships) program is constitutional.

Four Georgia taxpayers (Gaddy et al v Georgia Department of Revenue et al) filed suit challenging the program, which allows Georgians to donate to student scholarship organizations (SSOs) and receive a tax credit for their contribution up to a certain amount; the state limits the program to a total of $58 million in donations annually. The SSO must distribute the funds as scholarships or tuition grants for the use of eligible students at an accredited private school the parents choose. 

Writing for the court, Justice Robert Benham declared the plaintiffs – as taxpayers – have no standing to challenge the program’s constitutionality. “We also reject the assertion that plaintiffs have standing because these tax credits actually amount to unconstitutional expenditures of tax revenues or public funds. The statutes that govern the Program demonstrate that only private funds, and not public revenue, are used.”

Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, praised the court for its decision.

“This ruling aligns with similar federal and state courts, giving legal certainty to Georgia’s program and the families that depend on it,” McCutchen said.

“As the Foundation has reported before, this program provides educational opportunity and choice to thousands of students at an average cost of $3,425 – a mere 37 percent of public school per-student spending in Georgia.” (See here.)

McCutchen urged legislators to take heart from the court’s affirmation and resolve to enable more Georgians to reap the benefits of education choice.

“An easy solution is to increase the total amount beyond the $58 million annual limit on contributions,” he said. “An even better solution is to expand families’ education options further through Education Savings Accounts.”

To read the Georgia Supreme Court Decision, go here.

To interview Kelly McCutchen, email or call 404-256-4050.

About the Georgia Public Policy Foundation: Established in 1991, the Foundation is an independent, state-focused think tank that proposes market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians.