Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association
Resolution No. 3-6-12-15 RESOLUTION OF THE GREAT PLAINS TRIBAL CHAIRMAN’S ASSOCIATION

A RESOLUTION OF THE GREAT PLAINS TRIBAL CHAIRMAN’S ASSOCIATION SUPPORTING THE NATIONAL INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATIONS (NIGA) RESOLUTION REQUESTING TREASURY COMPLY WITH THE TRIBAL GENERAL WELFARE EXCLUSION ACT, PL113-168, BY CONSULTING WITH INDIAN TRIBES ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACT AND SUSPENDING AUDITS AND EXAMINATIONS OF TRIBAL GENERAL WELFARE PROGRAMS

 

Resolution No. 3-6-12-15

 

WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (hereafter GPTCA) is composed of the elected Chairs and Presidents of the federally recognized sovereign Indian Tribes and Nations within the Great Plains Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and

 

WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association is formed to promote the common interest of the Sovereign Tribes and Nations who are members of the GPTCA; and

 

WHEREAS, the United States has obligated itself to ensure the well-being of sovereign Tribes and Nations of the Great Plains Region both through Treaties and federal statutes, including the Snyder Act of 1921 ad amended, the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1976 as amended, and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976 as amended, and

 

WHEREAS, the GPTCA recognizes its responsibility to act to advance the goals of the Tribes and their members and to promote improvements to the health, safety welfare, education, economic development and preservation of the spiritual, cultural, and natural resources of its member Tribes and Nations;

 

WHEREAS, Indian Tribes are governments that pre-date the United States, and through the Indian Commerce, Treaty and Apportionment Clauses and the 14th Amendment, the United States recognizes the status of Indian Tribes as sovereigns and the status of American Indians as tribal citizens; and

 

WHEREAS, in treaties, the United States pledged to protect Indian Tribes, guaranteed the right of Tribal self-government, and has undertaken a trust responsibility to promote the viability of Indian reservations and lands as permanent homelands for tribes;

 

WHEREAS, before the United States, Indian nations were independent sovereigns with complete authority over our lands and our citizens; and

 

WHEREAS, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (the “IGRA”) acknowledged and confirmed the inherent sovereign powers of Tribal Governments; and

 

WHEREAS, before the formation of the United States, Indian nations were independent sovereign nations and it is the policy of the United States to support self-determination, self-governance, and self-sufficiency as set forth in the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975 as amended, the Self-Governance Act, and other federal laws; and

 

WHEREAS, through treaties, statutes, executive orders, and other legal agreements and laws, the United States undertook many obligations to Native people in exchange for hundreds of millions of acres of homelands, yet the federal government has not sufficiently met these obligations to provide essential services, programs and benefits to Native people; and

 

WHEREAS, to address shortfalls in federal funds and the corresponding shortages of federal programs and services, many Tribal Nations provide for the general welfare of their people and communities through tribal programs, services, and benefits; and

 

WHEREAS, since 2002, the IRS has been auditing Indian nations by seeking to impose federal income taxes on essential government program and services; and

 

WHEREAS, in September 2014, the U.S. Congress enacted and President Obama signed into law Public Law 113-168, the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion (GWE) Act, which Congress developed in consultation with Tribal Nations across the country; and

 

WHEREAS, the GWE Act recognizes that Tribal Nations may provide payments or benefits to their citizens to promote the general welfare of their community, and that such payments and benefits are free from taxation by state and federal governments; and

 

WHEREAS, the GWE Act recognizes that Tribal Nations, not the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) or other offices or bureaus at the Department of the Treasury, are in the best position to determine the needs of their citizens and communities; and

 

WHEREAS, the GWE Act requires the Treasury Secretary (Secretary) to do the following: (1) establish a Tribal Advisory Committee (Committee) to advise the Treasury Department on matters relating to the taxation of Indians; (2) establish and provide training and education for IRS agents about the new law in consultation with the Committee; and (3) provide training and education for IRS agents on Federal Indian Law and the Federal Government’s unique treaty relationship with tribal governments in consultation with the Committee; and

 

WHEREAS, the GWE Act requires that the Secretary suspend all audits and examinations of tribal governments and tribal members regarding an exclusion of a payment or benefit from a tribal government until the Secretary has provided the required training and education to IRS agents in consultation with the Committee; and

 

WHEREAS, before the Committee can establish, a charter, according to the Treasury Department’s interpretation of the GWE Act, must be developed and adopted by the Department; and

 

WHEREAS, in December 2014, the Treasury Department held a listening session in Washington, DC, at which tribal leaders requested that Indian Country be consulted on the drafting of a charter for the Committee, and these tribal leaders received indications from agency officials that the Treasury Department would work with Tribal Nations on the charter; and

 

WHEREAS, in December 2014, the Treasury Department also issued a draft Tribal Consultation Policy, which included statements that the Treasury Department will endeavor to utilize a consultation process that is “acceptable and convenient to Tribal participants’; and

 

WHEREAS, the Treasury Department submitted the Charter without adequately consulting with Tribal Nations and providing no opportunity for Tribal Nations to review and comment on the language of the charter; and

 

WHEREAS, Treasury Department officials also indicated that it is not required to appoint tribal leaders for its three positions on the Committee and instead may appoint non-tribal leaders to the Committee; and

 

WHEREAS, the legislative history of the GWE Act indicates that Congress intended for the Committee appointments to be tribal leaders; and

 

WHEREAS, the Treasury Department has not indicated whether it will engage in government-to-government consultations with Tribal Nations on the Committee appointment process or other aspects of implementations of the GWE Act; and

 

WHEREAS, under the GWE Act, IRS examinations were to have been suspended until IRS field agents are adequately trained, and also it further expressly provides deference to tribal government decision-making authority and generally fosters the policy supporting Indian Self-Determination and respect for tribal culture; and

 

WHEREAS, some Tribal Nations continue to be audited and or questioned by the IRS on benefits they provide to their members for the General Welfare and further the Treasury Department, including the IRS, has not suspended audits and examinations of these Tribal Nations and their tribal members even though Tribal Nations have indicated these audits and examinations relate to General Welfare; and

 

WHEREAS, Tribal Nations are concerned that the Treasury Department will continue to implement the GWE Act without meaningfully consulting with Tribal Nations, disregarding Congressional intent behind the law, appoint non-tribal leaders to the Committee, fail to suspend all audits as mandated by the law, and fail to disclose information regarding implementation of the GWE Act; and

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association support NIGA in calling upon the Department of Treasury, including the IRS, to be transparent and engage in meaningful government-to-government consultations with Tribal Nations pursuant to Executive Orders 13175 and 13647 regarding the implementation of the GWE Act, including the development and adoption of a charter for the Committee, the appointment process and qualifications for members to the Committee, and the moratorium on audits of Tribal Nations and tribal members; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the GPTCA and NIGA request that the Treasury Department only appoint only duly elected or appointed tribal leaders and officials to the Committee consistent with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the GPTCA and NIGA calls upon Congress to enact a technical correction to clarify that: the Federal Advisory Committee Act (which is intended for industry committees) does not apply to the Tribal Government Advisory Committee established by Public Law 113-168 (2014), which is intergovernmental in nature and is intended to reduce unfunded mandates and impositions on tribal governments; and that consultation with Indian tribes shall proceed as required by Executive Order 13175 (2000); and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the GPTCA and NIGA calls upon the IRS to immediately suspend all audits and examinations of Tribal Nations and tribal members and their spouses and dependents regarding any exclusions of payments or benefits from gross income as set forth in the GWE Act, until the Secretary has provided the required training and education to IRS agents; and

 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of the GPTCA and NIGA until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.

 

Resolution No. 3-6-12-15

 

CERTIFICATION

 

This resolution was enacted at a duly called meeting of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association held at Ft. Randall Casino, South Dakota on June 12, 2015 at which a quorum was present, with 8 members voting in favor, 0 members not abstaining, and 8 members not present.

 

DOWNLOAD PDF

Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved. Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association

designed by Sioux Media Design