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"Appropriation by litigation" in school finance

The Tax Foundation has released a new paper (PDF) by Chris Atkins entitled "Appropriation by Litigation: Estimating the Cost of Judicial Mandates for State and Local Education Spending". From the introduction:

...Since 1977 courts in 27 states have held that spending on schools is constitutionally inequitable or inadequate. These decisions often lead to dramatic short-term increases in education spending as lawmakers comply with court mandates. In nine states lawmakers raised taxes by over $13 billion to meet these new spending obligations. Similar cases are currently pending in other states.

...few studies have attempted a comprehensive, state-by-state measure of the long-term fiscal impact of court education mandates and none have presented a state-by-state estimate of the cost of legislation approved to comply with court education mandates.

The study is billed as the first in what promises to be an interesting series called Appropriation by Litigation. Our coverage of school finance litigation in New York and other states is here.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.