Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and Member of the Ways and Means Committee, applauded the inclusion of tax reforms to support tribal communities in H.R. 2, The Moving Forward Act, House Democrats' new legislation to invest in the nation's infrastructure. These provisions will help increase affordable housing and support economic development throughout Indian Country and is set to pass the House this week.
Indian Country has long had some of the poorest communities in our country with high levels of poverty, unemployment and substandard housing.Yet the federal tax code largely ignores tribal government sovereignty and as a result, tribes do not enjoy the same benefits as state and local governments, preventing them from accessing much needed economic development opportunities. The Moving Forward Act addresses that issue for tribal governments on several fronts, including:
New Market Tax Credits: The New Markets Tax Credit program, operated by the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury), provides a set amount of tax credits for economic development projects in low income communities annually. H.R. 2 provides that qualifying tribal areas will be eligible for their program, even if surrounding non-tribal areas are not. The bill also instructs Treasury to provide a proportional allocation to tribal areas.
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: This credit provides a tax incentive to construct or rehabilitate affordable rental housing for low-income households. This bill increases the value of the credit for low income housing projects built on tribal lands designated as difficult development areas to help bring more affordable housing to tribal areas.
Parity for Tax-Exempt Bonds and Foundations: The bill allows tribal governments to issue tax-exempt bonds for economic development, bringing them in line with state and local governments. It also treats foundations and charities formed to support tribal governments the same as foundations and charities formed to support state and local governments.
"We must ensure that our tax laws promote the fair treatment of Native Americans and tribal governments," Congressman Kildee said. "Indian Country has long endured unequal treatment in providing much needed housing, employment opportunities and economic development for their people. I am proud to support this bill, which takes significant steps in recognizing the sovereignty of tribal governments and provides vital access to economic development, housing and employment opportunities and the ability to rebuild their infrastructure."
For months, Kildee has worked with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (MA-01), Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05), and tribal governments from around the nation to address these issues. In March, the Select Revenue Measures subcommittee held an historic hearing to examine the impact of the tax code on Indian nations. Congressman Kildee represents the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Michigan. In 2017, Kildee criticized Republicans for rushing through their tax plan without any congressional hearings, tribal governments were left entirely out of the bill.