State and tribal officials meet to discuss tax revenue sharing

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NEW TOWN, N.D. - The Three Affiliated Tribes and the State of North Dakota have been at odds over tax revenue sharing since April.

It reached a breaking point last month when liquor distributors cut off alcohol sales to the reservation. The two governments met to try and iron out some of the differences, Friday.

Tension between the state and the tribe had been rising for months, but both sides hope to alleviate that by meeting face to face.

"The sales tax, the alcohol tax, the gas tax, cigarette tax, were with you. We want to help you help yourself," said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson.

MHA Chairman Mark Fox announced that the tribal council has granted a 60-day reprieve to liquor distributors to comply with new alcohol regulations implemented last month, but the tribe and state still find themselves at odds over taxation issues.

"I am convinced that double taxation is not going to help anybody in the reservation or at the state level. It's going to drive away business, it's going to cause all kinds of problems," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo.

"We're moving forward to assert our rights and you're seeing other tribes already doing this, or about to do this through out the nation. It's how government's operate," said Fox.

The Tribal Taxation committee drafted legislation to allow the Governor and Tribes to enter into tax agreements when the legislature is not in session. An option not available under current law.

One of the main things Gov. Doug Burgum emphasized is that he wanted a bill ironed out by the start of the next legislative session so that he could sign it right away.