Lawmakers in the state of North Dakota are willing to introduce a new regulation to the field with the help of a draft legislation targeting Native American tribes in the region. According to it, the tribes would have the right to collect sales tax in an agreement with the state, which would subject all tribal businesses to taxation, including gaming ones.
Concerns have been expressed following the proposal of the draft bill and discussion is projected to take place over the next months leading to January 2019. This Wednesday was a crucial one for the state of North Dakota as state lawmakers made the most of their last hours of work and reviewed a proposal directly affecting the Indian tribes within the borders of the state.
The Tribal Taxation Committee overseen by Governor Doug Burgum dedicated its efforts to discuss several proposed arrangements which have the potential to shape the tribes’ future as they would have to introduce taxation on the entire array of businesses they currently oversee.
Tribes Express Their Opposition
If this arrangement comes into effect, each of the five Indian tribes would enter a direct tax agreement with the state. Revenue would be sent back to the tribes after the tax collection. Following the announcement, this Wednesday saw all tribes expressing their opinion in relation to it and how it could alter their future operation. The framework which would be devised as a result, would significantly change the status quo on a state level.
It should be taken into account that at the moment, Indian tribes are not obliged to provide the state 5-percent sales tax on their business operation. If the proposal is welcomed positively and receives a green light for implementation, they will have to change their ways. However, tribes rely on the tax revenue, as it has the potential to guarantee better living conditions and overall improvement of the tribal community in their reservation.
Mark Fox, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation Chairman, stated that such revenue is essential for the proper operation of any given tribe. Leaders expressed their discontent with the proposed new measures, stating that casinos should not be subjected to the said tax. This is not the first time when the state is willing to make a move towards taxation of tribes’ operation.
Previous Attempts at Introducing Taxes
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe occupying the sixth-largest Native American reservation saw a similar arrangement introduced to its businesses, but once it attempted to free its casino from such liabilities, the arrangement was nixed. It should be taken into account that a period of consideration lays ahead of all parties involved in the discussion, as the next legislative session is set to commence in January 2019.
This is when Senator Dwight Cook, R-Mandan would have the chance to introduce the bill for further voting and improvement. When all is said and done, tribes have the last saying on imposing the said 5-percent tax on their tribal members. At the moment, Bank of North Dakota also operates without taxes imposed as well and for the time being, no plans for changing this have been introduced.
The five Native American tribes had their gaming compacts issue by the North Dakota Gaming Division back in 1994. Ever since then the tribal gambling field has been boasting with the introduction of as many as nine gambling venues and resorts enriching the field with both gaming and more family-friendly offerings.