Czech lawmakers approve taxation of church restitution plan

Czech lawmakers approve taxation of church restitution plan
In this file picture taken on Oct. 13, 2009, the sun sets behind the St. Vitus cathedral in Prague, Czech Republic. On Wednesday Jan. 23, 2019, the lower house of Czech Parliament has approved a proposal drafted by the Communist Party to tax the compensation that the country's churches receive for property seized by the former Communist regime. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Parliament’s lower house has approved a proposal drafted by Communist lawmakers to tax the compensation that the country’s churches receive for property seized by the former Communist regime.

Wednesday’s 106-56 vote shows the rising influence of the Communists. The party is not part of the center-left ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis but helped the minority Cabinet survive a confidence vote.

The nation’s churches, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish community, have had some property held by the state returned, and they are also to receive some billion over 30 years.

The Communists have been vocal opponents of the payment. Babis agreed with them, saying the compensation is too generous.

The churches strictly oppose the taxation and plan to sue.