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Rep. Ron Kind Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Ensure a Fairer Tax Code for Wisconsin Tribes

June 22, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Ron Kind introduced the bipartisan Tribal Tax and Investment Reform Act to protect sovereignty in the tax code and create parity for Native American Tribes. Currently, unfair restrictions limit the power tribal governments have to provide employment benefits, create jobs, and build critical infrastructure. This legislation would ensure tribal governments are treated the same as state and local governments for federal tax purposes. 

The bill was cosponsored by Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Tom Cole (R-OK), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and John Moolenaar (R-MI).  

“Our current tax code does not treat Native American Tribes as the sovereign nations they are, leaving Wisconsin Tribes with an unfair burden that limits economic growth and takes away basic rights like child support enforcement,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “This does not adhere to our constitution, and correcting this treatment is long overdue. Wisconsin Tribes deserve a level playing field, which is why I’m proud to introduce legislation that will end inequities in the tax code and create more access to opportunity.”   

“As the Ho-Chunk Nation and our members emerge from fifteen months of pandemic-related health and economic devastation, we are very appreciative of Rep. Ron Kind’s efforts to reform the federal internal revenue code in ways that will help us access capital and will go a long way to help us strengthen our economy and create jobs and household incomes for tribal members and surrounding communities.  For these reasons, we urge the committees that will consider the Kind bill to move quickly and get this important bill passed and to President Biden for his signature,” said Karena Thundercloud, Vice President of the Ho-Chunk Nation 

“The U.S. Chamber continues to strongly support Mr. Kind’s efforts towards tribal tax and investment reform as a matter of equity, and applauds his reintroduction of the Tribal Tax and Investment Reform Act today.  Of primary importance to the Chamber is that his bill repeals the essential government function requirement relative to public bonding that sovereign tribes are subject to.  This repeal would place sovereign tribes on an equal footing relative to states and municipalities in bonding and promise to act as an economic stimulus during these difficult times of pandemic recovery in Indian Country,” said Dan Mahoney, Executive Director of the Native American Enterprise Initiative for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce 

“Indian tribes have the responsibility and authority to provide governmental programs and services to tribal citizens, develop tribal economies, and build community infrastructure. However, despite having similar responsibilities, revenue generation for tribal governments is vastly different from their state and local government counterparts. We strongly support Rep. Kind’s proposed legislation that would help Tribal governments achieve tax parity, correct long-overdue oversights, and promote Tribal economic development more broadly,” said Cristina Danforth, NAFOA Board President.   

This bipartisan bill would help create fairness in the tax code for Native American Tribes in Wisconsin and throughout the country in the following ways:  

  • Equal treatment of Tribes as States with respect to bond issuances and excise taxes  
  • Equal treatment of pension and employee benefit plans maintained by Tribal governments  
  • Equal treatment of Tribal foundations and charities like charities funded and controlled by other governmental funders and sponsors  
  • Improving effectiveness of Tribal Child Support Enforcement Agencies by equal access to the Federal Parent Locator Service and Federal Tax Refund Offsets  
  • Determining under the adoption tax credit whether a child is eligible for special education services 

Rep. Kind serves on the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful - and the oldest - committee in the House of Representatives. It has jurisdiction over tax measures, the management of public debt, trade and tariff laws, Social Security, Medicare, pensions, and many other economic growth measures.