Fourth ON Congress passes FY 2015 budgets

The Fourth Osage Nation Congress wrapped the 2014 Tzi-Zho Session on its 22nd day after passing the 2015 fiscal year government operations budgets.

After mandating that division budgets not exceed 94 percent of their projected spending of tribal money, the Congress approved a total of just over $43 million in tribal money to be spent starting Oct. 1. Tribal revenue comprises $40 million from gaming revenue and the remaining income is from bank interest and Osage Tax Commission revenue.

The following are some of the budget and appropriation bills passed by the Congress with tribal money:

Office of the Chiefs budget (ONCA 14-64) - $1.9 million.

Congressional/ Legislative Branch budget (ONCA 14-65) - $2.4 million. This budget contains $1.9 million for the legislature and $500,000 for the Office of Fiscal Performance and Review’s operations.

Judicial Branch budget (ONCA 14-66) is $480,441 with $276,370 coming from tribal money and the remainder from federal grants and court fees.

Division of Child, Family and Senior Services Division (ONCA 14-70) totals $9.8 million with a majority coming from federal funding and $1.5 million coming from tribal funds (after the 6 percent reduction).

Division of Cultural Preservation, Arts, Heritage and Language (ONCA 14-71) totals $2.8 million with $2.1 million coming from tribal funds.

Division of Education and Early Childhood Services (ONCA 14-72) totals $7 million with $3.9 million coming from tribal funds.

Division of Government Operations (ONCA 14-75) totals $21 million with $12.2 million coming from tribal funds.

Division of Health, Fitness and Wellness (ONCA 14-76) totals $3.6 million with $1 million coming from tribal funds.

Division of Land, Commerce and Public Safety (ONCA 14-77) totals $9.3 million with $1.8 million coming from tribal funds.

At the conclusion of the day’s session, Congressional Speaker Maria Whitehorn delivered the following report based on compilations from legal counsel Loyed “Trey” Gill:

“We held 42 committee meetings during this 2014 Tzi-Zho Session; we had 45 pieces of legislation processed for this session; we voted on 36 pieces of legislation; the number of bills and resolutions passed are 33; thus far there are 0 vetoes; and the total funds appropriated this session were $43,085,985 in tribal funds.”

Whitehorn also added: “We worked well with the executive (branch), they were here, they were attentive to respond, we worked together and I’m very proud of the work the committees did this session.”

Other appropriation bills passed by Congress with tribal money spending include:

  • ONCA 14-67 - $1.1 million budget for the Nation’s boards/ commissions.
  • ONCA 14-56 - $300,000 for a fire suppression/ security system for the Osage Tribal Museum.
  • ONCA 14-73 - $4 million to replenish the ON higher education scholarship fund.
  • ONCA 14-68 - $370,000 to replenish the Nation’s burial assistance program.
  • ONCA 14-69 - $100,000 to the Nation’s capital asset and improvement fund.
  • ONCA 14-78 - $6.4 million to replenish the health benefit card program fund.