Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Suquamish Indian Tribe Wants Millions From State

On the editorial page of today’s Kitsap Sun is an article submitted by Leonard Forsman on behalf of the Suquamish Indian Tribe – offering a seemingly lame explanation of why the state of Washington should contribute millions of dollars toward the cost of capital projects planned by the tribe.

Apparently, Forsman anticipated the publication of several letters to the editor from people who opposed this use of state funds. So far, there appears to have been one letter.

The letter was prompted by this article in the Kitsap Sun about the efforts of state representative Sherry Appleton (D – Poulsbo; 23rd Legislative District):

Legislator Requests Funding for Suquamish Tribe's Projects
 Rep. Appleton hopes an early-learning center will be a top priority.
By Derek Sheppard
February 14, 2006
Suquamish -- A North Kitsap legislator is requesting $6 million to help the Suquamish Tribe build a longhouse, early-learning center and welcoming pole.

The “welcoming pole” would be a “decorative totem” pole – something that is not a part of the Suquamish culture, but might be an attractive decoration for the entrance to their reservation.

Note that Forsman’s article doesn’t mention any taxes paid by the tribe to the state of Washington. His only reference to taxes paid by the tribe is to federal taxes:

A few people question the use of public money for tribal governments because they inaccurately believe we do not pay taxes. It is true that we do not pay taxes on tribal lands because our government predates state and county taxing authority. However, the tribe is subject to employment and Social Security taxes, both for its government employees and the employees of its businesses, including $3 million in federal income taxes and $1,4 million in Social Security taxes annually from our casino alone.

Why give state revenue to a “sovereign government” (as Forsman calls the tribe) which pays no property or excise taxes to the state?

The tribe’s campaign donations would really be worthwhile, as far as the tribe is concerned, if they get millions in return. Is that one of the reasons why the tribe donates to political campaigns?


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