I found interesting the article in a recent Olympian about the local Indian tribes casino bonanza. I applaud the tribes’ initiative and business acumen toward improving their economies and the well-being of their members.
But what the article failed to cover is the questionable uses of some of the tax-free casino riches while they continue to seek federal and state grants to fund many of their tribal programs.
The Squaxin Island Tribe is now acquiring million-dollar off-reservation properties for cash – property located in single-family residential neighborhoods – and converting them into USA trust land.
I understand the tribes can purchase real property wherever they wish, but I am opposed to converting it into trust when it adversely affects off-reservation neighborhoods.
The conversion to trust has significant impacts to the local communities including exempting the property from real estate, sales, excise and business taxes and removal from local jurisdictional control including licenses, fees, zoning, development regulations, and uses of the properties.
It is time for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, state, and county officials to consider the long range impacts on their jurisdictions and our neighborhoods when they give rubber stamp approval to the tribes’ applications for land conversion to trust.
It is also important for the average citizen to understand he makes up the shortfall in taxes and it is his tax monies that will fund the government grants that are doled out to the tribes when they could be funded with cash from tribal casino operations.