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View Diary: When do tax breaks constitute taxpayer funding? When it's convenient. (95 comments)

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  •  The Arizona decision was a trap for the right (0+ / 0-)

    When this decision came out, I immediately thought of the "money is fungible" argument used in these abortion cases.  The Court ruled that it wasn't -- the tax expenditure was not the same as funding.  So the argument that the House was making was being called out by their own side.

    By the same token, I'm a bit concerned about Kagan's view, simply because it gives them the same tool.  I did not read her whole Dissent.  I might want to draw a distinction between a tax credit and a tax deduction, the latter being less directed and smaller in impact.  Tax expenditures for religious education are a real problem, but if every dollar spent on anything by any private party that also gets a tax break for its costs could be treated as a government expenditure, then pretty much all private expenditures are open to it.  It might be fun to go after GE's tax-sheltered innards, but it doesn't seem productive to do it in such an indirect way.

    •  For standing purposes, that's correct (1+ / 0-)
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      The Court ruled that it wasn't -- the tax expenditure was not the same as funding.  

      Remember, they're just ruling on standing.  They're not holding that deductions and credits aren't actual money or don't shift money to the donee charity.

      In addition to misreading the case (the court didn't reach the question of whether credits are a violation of the establishment clause; they ruled on standing grounds precisely so they wouldn't have to do that!) Dante wayyyy oversells the significance of this new exception to Flast.

      •  Completely agree here (1+ / 0-)
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        johnny wurster

        It's also only a plurality opinion, Scalia and Thomas are both only concurring on the judgement, not the reasoning.
        Having to depend on Flast to get standing is pretty shaky no matter what your case is, better to find a plaintiff who can actually show direct harm and redressability.

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