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Gov. Gray Davis proposes increased payments from tribes

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  • Harvest McCampbell
    Davis asks California tribes for talks on revenue-sharing issues 03/31/2003 - LOS ANGELES CA From: http://www.kumeyaay.com/news/news_detail.html?id=1960 By
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1 6:02 AM
      Davis asks California tribes for talks on revenue-sharing issues
      03/31/2003 - LOS ANGELES CA

      From: http://www.kumeyaay.com/news/news_detail.html?id=1960

      By ERICA WERNER, The Associated Press

      Gov. Gray Davis, who angered some Indian tribes by proposing they
      increase their payments to the state more than tenfold, has formally
      requested revenue negotiations with the 61 tribes allowed to operate
      casinos in California.

      Davis told the tribes in a letter released Monday that he wants to
      renegotiate portions of the tribal-state gambling agreements, known
      as compacts, having to do with revenue sharing and the number of slot
      machines tribes are allowed to operate.

      "Further revenue sharing with the state is a matter which should be
      discussed and negotiated in good faith," Davis wrote in the letter
      dated Friday.

      The compacts signed in 1999 don't expire for another 17 years, but
      they include windows to reopen talks on two issues: off-reservation
      environmental impacts and revenue-sharing and slot machines.

      Monday was the deadline for either side to request talks on revenue-
      sharing and slot machines, now limited to 2,000 per tribe. Davis sent
      a letter to tribes in February requesting negotiations on off-
      reservation environmental impacts.

      Fifty tribes operate casinos in California, making some $5 billion a
      year, according to the state. As sovereign governments they cannot be
      taxed by the state, and unlike tribes in other states they don't
      contribute money to the state's general fund.

      Instead tribes pay into two other funds, one for tribes without
      casinos or with small casinos and the other to reimburse state and
      local governments for gambling impacts. Those funds are expected to
      generate some $130 million a year.

      With the window for reopening the compacts approaching and the state
      facing an estimated $34.6 billion budget deficit, Davis proposed in
      January that tribes contribute an additional $1.5 billion annually to
      the state. He said that in exchange he was open to allowing tribes to
      have more slot machines.

      The state based the $1.5 billion figure on arrangements in
      Connecticut and New York where tribes share up to 25 percent of their
      revenue with the state. But California tribes dismissed the figure as
      unrealistic, and some were offended Davis proposed it without
      consulting them.

      Tribal officials and attorneys said Monday that only about a dozen
      tribes in the state could profitably expand beyond 2,000 slot
      machines, and the others would have little incentive to give the
      state additional revenue.

      "In the short term it's laughable," tribal attorney Howard Dickstein
      said of the $1.5 billion figure.

      Officials with tribes that want to expand said they could be open to
      talks on sharing more revenue, though not likely in the sums Davis is

      "If there's a discussion about more dollars from us in exchange for
      more machines, I think we can certainly discuss that," said Mark
      Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians,
      which operates a 2,000-slot casino in Riverside County. "I'm also
      saying that there are clearly, in my tribe's view, limits to what we
      see as a fair trade-off."

      "We're not interested in giving the farm away in exchange for more
      machines," Macarro said.

      ©2003 Belo Interactive Inc.

      Printed for educational purposes only: The news that is reported is
      not necessarily the viewpoint of Northern CA Native Events and News.

      Reprinted under the Fair Use Law: Doctrine of international
      copyright law.
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