School-funding tax case coming to trial
The Huntsville Times reports: Alabama history is headed before a federal judge in Huntsville, as civil rights attorneys argue that the state's method of funding schools purposefully discriminates based on race.
At stake are the state's property tax rates, the lowest in the nation. Attorney James Blacksher of Birmingham contends that tax structure violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, largely by limiting the ability of rural counties to tax wealthy white landowners.
"Because of the anemic property taxes available to most local school systems, low-income students throughout Alabama, who are disproportionately black, suffer from underfunding," contends the suit.
But the state argues that any forced change in tax rates would decrease all property values, injure all property owners who plan to sell, paralyze the commercial real estate market and cause "widespread havoc in Alabama's government and real estate markets." Read the whole story --> Alabama's method of funding schools challenged in court for racial discrimination | al.com (PDF copy)