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In recent years, a conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, over vigorous dissents, has developed circumventions to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment that allow state legislatures unabashedly to use public tax dollars to aid private elementary and secondary education, with the vast majority of that funding reaching parochial schools and other religiously-affiliated education providers. Yet the innovative and expanding legislation that enables such governmental financial support - a response to the perceived declining quality of traditional public schools and the vigorous school choice movement for alternative educational opportunities - remains constitutionally problematic. Moreover, the Court's 2011 decision in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn compounds the dilemma, inappropriately denying taxpayers recourse to challenge these proliferating tax funding schemes in federal courts.In this book Professors Winer and Crimm clearly elucidate for readers' greater understanding and appreciation the complex and controversial policy, legal, and constitutional issues involved in using tax expenditures - mechanisms such as exclusions, deductions, and credits that economically function essentially as government subsidies - to finance private, religious schooling.
The authors argue that legislatures should take great care in structuring such programs and set forth various proposals to ameliorate the troubling dissention and divisiveness generated by state aid for religious education.