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Baltimore synagogue's challenge to 'rain tax' is rejected by state appeals court

ANNAPOLIS, MD. — A Maryland appeals court has rejected a Baltimore synagogue's challenge to a stormwater management levy on city property owners, popularly known as the "rain tax."

The Court of Special Appeals on Friday upheld a circuit judge's ruling that the fee does not violate the synagogue's right to free exercise of religion.

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The court said the city acted within its authority under a state enabling law when it enacted the fee, although the court agreed with Shaarei Tfiloh Congregation that the fee is actually a tax because its primary purpose is to raise revenue.

But the court said the fee is an excise tax, not a property tax, and does not carry religious implications.

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State lawmakers passed a bill in 2012 allowing the stormwater management fee as a way to help reduce runoff to the Chesapeake Bay.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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