WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, yesterday introduced the Tribal Economic Assistance Act of 2017. The bipartisan legislation, which is cosponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), would stimulate economic growth in Indian Country by reducing regulatory burdens to development, incentivizing private investment, and extending and making permanent valuable tax credits for tribal governments and businesses.
“As Congress tackles tax reform, it’s important that Indian Country is included in the conversation,” said Hoeven. “This bill promotes partnership, investment and development in tribal communities by extending and enhancing critical tax credits. It also expands financing options for infrastructure projects, such as tribal schools and educational facilities. Reducing regulatory burdens will jumpstart economic growth and ensure tax relief is working for all Americans, including Indian tribes.”
Specifically, the senator’s legislation will:
· Remove barriers to development by expanding tribal authority and flexibility in issuing tax-exempt bonds for community infrastructure projects;
· Make permanent the accelerated depreciation credit, which attracts capital-intensive projects and infrastructure investment to tribal areas;
· Make permanent the Indian employment tax credit, which provides a 20 percent tax credit for the first $20,000 of wages for any tribal member or spouse employed by a private business operating on an Indian reservation;
· Improve access to new market tax credits for tribal enterprises and tribal-based development projects; and
· Provide an alternative method for funding the construction and repair of Indian schools through the use of qualified school construction bonds.
The bill text can be found here.