FRANKFORT, KY – Today, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that HB 563, or the Education Opportunity Account Program, was unconstitutional. The General Assembly passed HB 563, a limited school choice measure, during the 2021 legislative session.
“The Kentucky Supreme Court’s decision harms Kentucky families and students. This unprecedented ruling effectively says that all your money belongs to the government, even what you get to keep,” said Martin Cothran, spokesman for the Family Foundation in Kentucky. The law the Court struck down would have allowed parents to use a tax credit from their state income taxes to apply to tuition expenses at nonpublic schools. The Court said that this amounted to the government funding private schools through tax money.
“The Court essentially said that the money you get to exclude from your tax liability is governed by rules governing money you paid in taxes,” said Cothran. “But a tax credit is money you get to exclude from what you pay in taxes, it’s not money the government gets and then turns around and spends. For the Court to call tax credits an ‘expenditure’ reflects a basic misunderstanding of what a tax credit is.”
“If you buy something from the store at a discount, the money you saved from the discount is not money the store gave you. It is money you didn’t have to give it. That should be pretty obvious. To think anything else would apparently require a long, expensive education and a law degree.”
“Not only is this bad reasoning, but it hurts families who can’t afford to send their children to private schools. The irony is that many of the people who oppose school choice send their own kids to private schools.”
The case against the school choice measure was brought by the Council for Better Education, the group behind the failed Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 (KERA), which sparked a parent rebellion in the early and mid-1990s that eventually resulted in most of the law’s provisions being overturned, but not before it detrimentally affected a whole generation of Kentucky students. “The school choice measure was killed by the same people who brought you KERA,” said Cothran.
The Family Foundation is the leading Christian public policy organization in Kentucky and stands for Kentucky families and the Biblical values that make them strong. Learn more at kentuckyfamily.org.