Ga. Supreme Court will hear challenge to private school tax credit

[private]The newly enlarged state Supreme Court will hear arguments next Monday in a lawsuit that tries to overturn Georgia’s tax credit for private schools.

The nine justices — three of them just appointed to the high court — will take up Gaddy v. Georgia Department Of Revenue, a lawsuit filed by a group of four taxpayers that includes the name plaintiff, Raymond Gaddy.

The lawsuit argues that the Qualified Education Tax Credit Program is unconstitutional because it redirects public tax funds to private religious schools.

The program, which is managed by the Department of Revenue, allows individuals, couples, and corporations persons to get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit by donating money to “student scholarship organizations”  that award scholarships to private schools.

The yearly amount of this tax credit is capped at $58 million and is usually fully subscribed by Jan. 1 of each year.

The lawsuit seeks to have a court issue an injunction to stop the use of tax funds for private schools and a “writ of mandamus” to require revenue Commissioner Lynne Riley to revoke the status of any school scholarship organization that solicited contributions by claiming it would award a scholarship for a specific student.

Most of the lawsuit was dismissed in Fulton County Superior Court and the plaintiffs are appealing that dismissal to the Supreme Court.

In addition to the tax credit case, the Supreme Court is also scheduled to hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by three obstetrician-gynecologists that challenges the constitutionality of the 2012 law that prohibits most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Eva Lathrop, Carrie Cwiak, and Lisa Haddad sued Gov. Nathan Deal in an attempt to stop the enforcement of some provisions of the law.  They argue that the law not only prohibits nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy but also “appears to give district attorneys virtually unlimited access to the medical records of all abortion patients within their jurisdictions,” in violation of their constitutional right to privacy.

Their lawsuit was dismissed in Fulton County Superior Court on the grounds that the state had sovereign immunity from lawsuits, and the physicians are appealing that dismissal.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report




Tags: 20-week abortion ban , Georgia Supreme Court , private school tax credits