President Zeman: church restitution tax could fund repairs to monuments

25-01-2019

Money from church restitution taxes could be used to fund repairs of cultural monuments, President Miloš Zeman said in a televised interview on Thursday. He said he would propose this to Minister of Culture Antonín Staněk (Social Democrats).

Czech MPs on Wednesday approved a tax on the billions in annual payments the state is making to the country’s 16 churches and a Jewish organisation to compensate for assets seized by the Communist regime.

Critics say the tax – proposed by the Communists and supported by the minority ANO-Social Democrat government – is unconstitutional.

If approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Zeman, the state stands to recover about 380 million crowns annually from the roughly 2 billion crowns it now transfers to the religious groups under bilateral agreements.

The Catholic Church, the largest single denomination with over 1 million followers, is slated to receive about 80 percent of the compensation package.