U.S. Treasury’s new tribal office takes aim at tax, finance inequities -Yellen

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before Congress in Washington
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before Congress in Washington

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before a Senate Finance Commmittee hearing on President Biden’s 2023 budget, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 7, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

ROSEBUD, South Dakota, June 21 (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday the department’s new Office of Tribal and Native Affairs will to try to address some chronic tax and financing inequities faced by tribes, but will need Congress to sustain it beyond the Biden administration.

Yellen told reporters the office, to be headed by newly appointed U.S. Treasurer Marilynn Malerba, the first Native woman to hold the post, will aim for parity on certain tax issues, such as prohibitions for tribes to access low-income housing tax credits and to be able to offer tax credits to attract business investment.

During a visit to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, Yellen called for a “rethink” of some tax credit programs to allow tribes to participate, and to reduce barriers to financing on tribal lands.

“We heard a lot about treaty obligations that haven’t been met and long standing barriers to economic development — lack of access to capital for example,” Yellen told reporters after a meeting with Rosebud tribal officials.

Malerba, permanent chief of the Mohegan Indian Tribe, said that because of tribes’ current tax status, they cannot offer tax credits to attract business, jobs and revenues, while non-tribal state and local governments can.

“So we’re looking for parity on some of those issues,” Malerba said. “We should be able to compete just […]

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