Democratic Governor Jerry Brown has been in the process of accumulating fund to help fuel his tax campaign from Native American tribes situated within California, where these tribes are also looking to renegotiate gambling compacts, agreements between tribes and the state government on regulations and rules for the tribes to initiate gaming and commence operation of gaming establishments (eg. Casinos)
It has been proposed by the governor that an increase of the state’s sales tax and income taxes on the highest earners. This proposal is considered to be of a great benefit to tribes and their interests, with 15 to 20 tribes in negotiation with Brown’s Tribal negotiator. Jerry Brown has been considered much more accommodating and influenced by tribal interests than his predecessor, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which sees these proposals come to light, with significant implications. Brown’s proposed compacts could potentially see the generation of over $7 billion annually for the gambling industry and millions worth in state payments.
Brown’s tax campaign has gathered much support by the tribes who could potentially bargain from it, raising more than $300,000 towards the $1.2 million already reported accumulated. Tribe profits aren’t necessarily scrounged, with donations of almost $1 million donated to Brown’s gubernational effort in 2010, as well as $200,000 to two charter schools started by Brown in Oakland.
A spokesperson for Brown has however stated that there is “no connection between any sort of donations and decision-making on this issue or others.”
David Quintana, a lobbyist for the California Tribal Business Alliance (CTBA) says that the donations to the tax campaign by the tribes are purely for the improvement of the state’s financial position. Alongside this there is also the opportunity for tribes to improve their standing in future negotiations and easing pressure on states and negate the need for the government to ‘extort’ money out of wealthy tribes, as stated by Jeff Cummins, a political science professor at CSU (California State University).
Brown’s interest in supporting tribes is seen to be a huge jump from the previous government’s approach.
“You had one of the worst governors for tribes of all time,” Quintana said. “Then you have a person who is the best governor for tribal governments since himself in the late 1970s.” Quintana also explained that he believed some tribes loathed the Schwarzenegger’s time in office and were waiting for the change in order to facilitate renegotiations to benefit them.
Since Brown’s inauguration, he has negotiated a few compacts, with his first completed last year replacing former deals and increasing the profits earned by the casinos. Furthered by browns negotiator he has called the compact “a model for how the state and local communities can all work together toward achieving something positive for each of their interests.” Brown anticipates more tribes to partake in compact deals.
[Source: The Sacramento Bee]