Washington, DC - The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) hosted the first event of 2017 at the Stanley Crooks Tribal Leaders Conference Center with the NIGA Tribal Leaders Tax Reform Alliance and Economic Development Strategy meeting on Wednesday, January 18th, 2017.
Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., opened the discussion and said, "We're going to hit the ground running, so we are here to get to work. We come together to discuss key issues in Indian country. Working through and with a change in administration is nothing new to us, so it is important that we continue to build upon or relationships with the leadership, without regard to political affiliation, to keep Indian country's priorities in front of Congress and the White House, first and foremost."
Tribal leadership and representatives first met with Congressman Markwayne Mullen (R-OK -2nd Dist.) who also serves on the Trump Transition team. In the question and answer session, Mullen heard from tribal leaders and provided an overview of the administrations initiatives and encouraged alignment of Indian Countries priorities with those of the new Administration.
Indian country leadership also heard from other members of Congress and the Senate, including Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY-27th Dist.), as part of the Congressional Partners for Policy and Legislation Initiatives discussion. He shared some of the Administrations focus in the first 100 days. He said, "President Elect Trump wants to leave a legacy of being a 'Game Changer' and the President for All Americans." U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), provided updates regarding the importance of nation to nation relationships and recognizing tribes as Sovereigns and stated that the goal of Economic Development in Indian Country should be to create a better, brighter future. Tribal leaders then heard from Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) who also serves on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs who emphasized the need to remove barriers to Economic Development in Indian Country. Some of the issues expected to be addressed early on include the overhaul of the Affordable Care Act, the 2017 budget bill and 2018 budget reconciliation and infrastructure development. This closed out the Congressional Partners discussions.
The day's agenda also included an Update on the House Ways and Means and Joint Tax Committees and Discussion on President-Elect Trumps Tax Reform proposal, presented by Earl Pomeroy, Senior Counsel at Alston & Bird, LLP.
The day concluded with a roundtable discussion on developing tribal economies, which was moderated by Randy Phelan, Vice Chairman of the MHA Nation and co-chair of the NIGA/NCAI Tax Reform Alliance. It included discussion on the Indian Trader Statute and regulations, land issues, Infrastructure/Telecom/Broadband/Satellite, dual taxation, tax reform and regulatory permitting reform.
The next National Indian Gaming Association tribal leaders meeting, the 2017 NIGA Winter Legislative Summit is scheduled for March 7-8, 2017 at the Stanley Crooks Tribal Leaders Conference Center at NIGA.