North Dakota Legislation Would Create New Tribal Tax Agreements

Bipartisan legislation introduced last week would more fairly distribute tax revenue between the state and the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation. The Tribes have long sought parity in tax revenue sharing with the state.

The Senate Bill stands to rework Tribal-state tax agreements across North Dakota at large, allowing Tribes in the state to introduce alcohol, tobacco and state sales taxes on reservations.

The MHA Nation’s Fort Berthold Indian Reservation sits on the oil-rich Bakken shale formation, with the Three Forks beneath it. More than 2,000 wells dot the reservation. To date, North Dakota Tax Department data reveals that the state has collected $1.38 billion, whereas the Tribe has received just $1.25 billion in taxes. The Tribe would garner an additional $33 million in revenue over the next two-year budget cycle under the legislation, reported the AP.

After nearly two years of negotiations between Tribal leaders, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, the state tax department and others stakeholders, the new legislation is finally on the table.

MHA Nation Chairman Mark Fox said the Tribes support it.

“It’s a good, solid step,” Chairman Fox said. “We are very supportive of this change.”

“There’s going to be more money in the long run for the state and the tribes,” said a primary sponsor of the bill, Sen. Jordan Kannianen, R-Stanley, reported the Grand Forks Herald.

The tax agreements would additionally impact the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Spirit Lake Tribe and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

The new legislation, however, would charge casinos a 5 percent state sales tax that may deter some Tribes from supporting the bill.


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