Mueller v. Allen: Court Rules Tax Deductions for Private School Supplies Constitutional

Mueller v. Allen: Court Rules Tax Deductions for Private School Supplies Constitutional

Mueller v. Allen

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Argued: Mueller v. Allen — The U.S. Supreme Court will rule 5-4 that a Minnesota law allowing parents to make tax deductions for expenses incurred for items such as textbooks and other supplies at private schools is constitutional, even though most of the benefits go to religious and not secular schools.

In the majority decision, the Court concludes that since the purpose is educating children, that makes it acceptable:

"A State's decision to defray the cost of educational expenses incurred by parents — regardless of the type of schools their children attend — evidences a purpose that is both secular and understandable.

An educated populace is essential to the political and economic health of any community, and a State's efforts to assist parents in meeting the rising cost of educational expenses plainly serves this secular purpose of ensuring that the State's citizenry is well educated.

Similarly, Minnesota, like other States, could conclude that there is a strong public interest in assuring the continued financial health of private schools, both sectarian and nonsectarian.

By educating a substantial number of students such schools relieve public schools of a correspondingly great burden — to the benefit of all taxpayers. In addition, private schools may serve as a benchmark for public schools "
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