Appeals judges take on city's attempt to 'tax' churches
The Texas Third District Court of Appeals will decide whether a city can force churches to pay nearly twice the rate other water users pay.
In essence, the city of Magnolia, Texas, is levying a special tax on churches, contends First Liberty, which is representing Magnolia Bible Church, First Baptist Church and Believers Fellowship in a lawsuit.
The city came up with a new "institutional" water fee structure for churches, imposing rates that are "significantly higher" [178%] than the rates for commercial businesses.
City Administrator Paul Mendes had explained, "Implementing an institutional rate would allow the city to collect funds from these entities in place of taxes or other fees."...