2014 Tzi-Zho Session Day 18

2014 TZI-ZHO SESSION DAY 18: With one week remaining in the regular 24-day Tzi-Zho Session, the Fourth Osage Nation Congress is considering final actions on the 2015 fiscal year budgets before they are passed by Oct. 1.

The Congress is also facing the challenge of budgeting under the FY 2015 projected revenue mark of $44 million in tribal funding with $40 million expected from gaming revenue and the rest from Tax Commission revenue and bank interest. A Congressional appropriations committee meeting is scheduled for Sept. 23 to revisit the budgeting status.

In an effort to reduce spending, the appropriations committee issued a recommendation that tribal money spending in the Nation’s approved division budgets be cut by 5 percent. Those division budgets comprise the respective ON government department and entity budgets. Only tribal money is restricted to the 5 percent cut while budgets funded by federal/ outside grants will not be impacted.

On Sept. 22, the Congress voted to amend the $3.5 million budget bill (ONCA 14-76) for the Nation’s health, fitness and wellness divisions to change the spending cut to 94 percent, meaning this division’s proposed tribal money spending must be decreased by 6 percent.

Congressman RJ Walker, who proposed the 6 percent amendment, said the additional 1 percent would help support the Early Learning Center budgets to reinsert vacant day care worker positions that were previously eliminated. The Congress and Executive Branch have since learned those day care positions are needed per state day care licensing requirements for children-worker ratios.

The 6 percent cut amendment passed with an 11-1 vote and ONCA 14-76 faces a final vote by the Congress.

For more information on the Congressional Tzi-Zho Session, legislation and committee meetings, visit the Legislative Branch website