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Osage Congress approves one-year extension of tobacco compact

The current tobacco compacts, which allow the state and tribes to evenly split the tax revenue on the sale of tobacco on tribal land, generate tens of millions of dollars each year in revenue for both the state and tribes.

Amid a year of debates over renewing tribal compacts at the Oklahoma state government level between Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Legislature, the Osage Nation’s 10-year tobacco tax compact will remain in place for an additional year.

Approved in 2013, the Nation’s tobacco tax compact was set to expire Dec. 31, 2023, but both the state House and Senate approved a bill allowing existing tribal tobacco compacts to remain in place for another year pending renegotiations. The legislation became official on Oct. 29, but required the Nation to approve the supplemental year term in writing to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

On Dec. 19 during a special session, the Eighth ON Congress unanimously passed resolution ONCR 24-07 (sponsored by Congressional Second Speaker Pam Shaw) “to support and affirm the supplemental term to the Tobacco Products Excise Tax Compact between the Osage Nation and the State of Oklahoma until Dec. 31, 2024.”

At the session’s start, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said “I must emphasize this is for the tobacco compact, this is not having to do with the (ON) license tags, and needs attention to continue it beyond its expiration date now. This is in the hands of our (ON) Tax Commission and director.” His comments come as the Nation is exploring a tribal tag compact with the state amid questions raised by Stitt and his administration on the validity of policy regarding tribal tags on vehicles in Oklahoma.

“And there’s been a lot of tribal discussions and meetings in the last two months – I’ve attended some of those and I fully support this action by our Tax Commission and this Congress,” Standing Bear said of the proposed tobacco compact extension.

In a brief Congressional Appropriations Committee that same day, the resolution received consideration before a vote by the 12-member Congress.

“This is simply a formality and something that must be done and filed with the State of Oklahoma in order to accept and continue the extension for the tobacco compact,” Shaw said. “This will give us another year, hopefully to negotiate proper terms or to make a decision on what the Osage Nation will do moving forward with the tobacco compact. Again, this doesn’t change anything, this keeps the status quo for a year.”

According to the Associated Press, the current tobacco compacts, which allow the state and tribes to evenly split the tax revenue on the sale of tobacco on tribal land, generate tens of millions of dollars each year in revenue for both the state and tribes.

ONCR 24-07 passed with a 12-0 vote and Standing Bear signed the resolution after the special session adjourned.

Author

  • Benny Polacca

    Title: Senior Reporter

    Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

    Instagram: @bpolacca

    Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

    Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

    Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

    Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

    Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

Benny Polacca
Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org

Title: Senior Reporter

Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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