New Arizona Proposals Could Keep Portion Of Sales Taxes On Reservations

By Bridget Dowd
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 10:15am
Updated: Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 12:13pm

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez Rep. Bob Thorpe
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez explains on Jan. 15, 2020, why his tribe wants to keep some of taxes generated by sales on tribal lands. He supports legislation to do that crafted by Rep. Bob Thorpe (left).

Two new Arizona legislative proposals could help some Native American tribes keep a portion of the taxes generated from sales on reservations.

One plan by Republican Bob Thorpe would take 15% of the state’s 5 cent tax rate — not counting the levy for education — and give it to the tribes. Another plan would give 50%.

The tribes would be able to use that money for economic, public safety and infrastructure needs. But, Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation, says there’s a bigger issue here.

“This is really a discussion about sovereignty really," Nez said. "Because the monies that are collected on the nation, I would say 100% should go back where it originated from. If it came from the Navajo Nation, 100% should go back.”

The Navajo and Hopi tribes have been hit financially by the closure of the Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta mine.

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