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Research Firm to Study Tribes’ Economic Impact on California

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A coalition of American Indian organizations in California hired a prominent research firm to analyze tribes' contribution to the state's economy, states a California Nations Indian Gaming Association news release.

Beacon Economics, a consulting firm based in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, will measure the economic impact of tribes by examining Indian-owned casinos, businesses, tribal government programs, purchases of goods and services and charitable donations, amongst other things.

"This study is an important undertaking by tribal governments," said Daniel Tucker, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. "It's significant that CNIGA, the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations and the California Association of Tribal Governments are participating, as it will provide a more complete picture of how tribal economic development and self-sufficiency are benefiting California taxpayers."

Tucker added, "We know tribes are responsible for generating billions of direct and indirect dollars to our state’s economy through jobs, benefits, taxes, and by supplementing local government services such as education, police and fire, transportation, and other off reservation benefits such as infrastructure and environmental improvements."

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Tribal economic development drives the economies of communities surrounding Indian reservations, and CATG Board Treasurer Arch Super, chairman of the Karuk Tribe of California, is eager to see numbers reflecting that. “Most California tribes occupy remote reservation lands that have poor roads and utilities. Business and jobs are not created without basic infrastructure. I believe the study will show that in cases where businesses have succeeded on reservations the result is a transfer of significant revenues to the surrounding community and many new jobs. Tax policy changes that encourage investments in tribal infrastructure need to be backed by hard data."