Tulalips approve tax on land sales

Non-Indians who purchase land from Tulalip tribal members within the boundaries of the Tulalip Indian Reservation may be assessed a tax of about 17 percent of the sale price beginning this summer.

The tribal Board of Directors ratified the change late last week. The resolution was among those first introduced in the tribes’ General Council meeting held in late March.

The board also ratified a resolution meant to strengthen hiring practices in favor of tribal members over non-Indians

Just one resolution, a proposal that would allow disabled tribal members to find part-time work while still receiving financial assistance, was tabled. The board didn’t have all the information needed to make a decision, board member Glen Gobin said.

Discussion is expected to resume on that proposal at a board meeting in the coming months.

The proposals ratified by the board have been forwarded to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which oversees tribal governments. The BIA is required to respond by either rejecting or approving the resolutions within 60 days, Gobin said.

The land sales tax is part of the Future Generations Land Protection Act, a hotly debated resolution that was introduced at the March tribal members meeting by the Grassroots Committee, a group led by former board member Les Parks. The group hopes to bring change to tribal government by proposing new laws that are considered by tribal members through votes at twice-yearly meetings.

Parks could not be reached for comment. When the resolution was proposed, Parks said it was designed to preserve tribal land. The tribal government has worked to buy back land that was sold off by tribal members in the past. Other land has been sold recently by tribal members who have made large profits because development on the reservation isn’t bound to permits and other fees common in other countries, Parks said.

The board ratified the resolution but believes it may raise jurisdictional issues, Gobin said.

“That’s why we ratified it, but sent it off to the BIA,” he said. “They will in all reality have somebody review it from their legal perspective.”

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or kkapralos@heraldnet.com.

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