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Czech lawmakers approve taxation of church restitution plan

PRAGUE (AP) — Czech lawmakers on Tuesday approved a proposal drafted by Communist lawmakers to tax the compensation that the country's churches receive from the state for property seized by the former Communist regime.

The 114-57 vote in favor of the proposal in the lower house is a further sign of the rising influence of the Communists. The Communist Party isn't part of the center-left ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis, but it has provided support in a confidence vote.

The lower house first approved the proposal in January, but the Senate vetoed it a month later. Churches in the country, including the Catholic Church and the Jewish community, have had some property held by the state returned, and they are also to receive around $3 billion over 30 years.

They oppose the tax and plan to challenge it at the Constitutional Court once it's signed into law by President Milos Zeman.

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