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Bill Grants Tax Breaks for Tribal Casinos

29 April 2005

SACRAMENTO, California – As reported by the L.A. Times: "A bill that would allow wealthy Indian tribes to use millions of dollars worth of tax breaks to finance the expansion of gambling resorts was approved Wednesday by a key state Senate committee.

"The controversial measure would make California the first state to extend the tax breaks to tribes seeking to build hotels, golf courses and restaurants around casinos, potentially fueling the expansion of Las Vegas-style resorts.

"Supporters of the bill, who have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from the tribes, are pushing the measure even as the Internal Revenue Service tries to stop the sale of tax-exempt bonds to finance resorts.

"…At issue is whether tribes can raise money by selling state-authorized tax-exempt bonds for construction projects. Such bonds are typically used by governments to pay for sewers, roads and other public improvements.

"The bill would allow tribes to use them for those purposes, but [the bill's sponsor, Sen. Dean Florez ] said it would also let investors claim the tax exemption to build amenities, such as golf courses and hotels, around their casinos.

"…The bill moving through the Legislature would permit tribes to claim the tax breaks even in cases where their surrounding communities oppose the projects…"

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