Tribal Governments Lead California in Job Growth

Press Release
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Tribal Governments Lead California in Job Growth

March 31, 2003

Tribal government economies have for three years led the state in job growth, with employment doubling since January 2000, state Employment Development Department figures show. The explosion of employment on Indian lands has largely been generated by the expansion of tribal government gaming, which was approved by California voters in separate referendums in 1998 and 2000. Tribal governments employ 36,300 workers, according to state figures, more than twice the 17,200 workers on tribal payrolls in January 2000, three months after 58 tribes agreed to compacts with Gov. Gray Davis allowing slot machines and house-banked card games on Indian lands. The number of compacted tribes has since increased to 61. “These jobs were created without a dime’s worth of tax incentives that normally are required by large firms and industries doing business in California,” said Jacob Coin, executive director of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “About 90 percent of these jobs are held by non-Indians living in communities surrounding tribal reservations and rancherias.” The growth in employment in Indian Country has come during a period of economic decline statewide, according to labor department statistics. Civilian employment in the year ending in February was up 204,000, or 1.3 percent, according to state figures. Tribal government employment for the same period rose 9.3 percent. “The employment growth and the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and economic development being generated from tribal governments is coming at a time when the state needs it the most,” CNIGA Chairwoman Brenda Soulliere says. While must of the growth in employment has been generated by tribal government casinos, Indian nations are rapidly diversifying their economies, reinvesting gaming revenues into retail and industrial development. Casino income is government revenue that, by federal law, must be used to: fund tribal government programs; provide for the general welfare of the tribe and its members; to promote tribal economic development; contribute to charities; and to help local government agencies absorb the impact of tribal casinos. TRIBAL EMPLOYMENT * JANUARY 2000 17,200 JANUARY 2001 26,800 JANUARY 2002 33,100 JANUARY 2003 36,300 FEBRUARY 2003 36,300 *SOURCE: California Employment Development Department

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