Dante Desiderio: Tribes gaining access to capital markets

"Congress all but guaranteed tribal finance to be a clear winner in the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. Included in the Act were two provisions that held the promise of jumpstarting local tribal economies (or at the very least, providing relief) and leveling the public financing playing field that, for more than two decades, was clearly tilted heavily in the favor of any and every other local government or authority. Good intentions from Congress, however, ran squarely into harsh economic realities, past influences coming home to roost, and a steep learning curve that is trending in the right direction, but taking more time to work through.

The first provision in the Act was the substantial allocation of $2 billion in typically lower-cost tax-exempt bonding authority made available to tribal governments for economic development purposes. The intent was to spark economic development with open access to the same tax-exempt financing as state and local governments. Included in the authorized use of the allocation was the ability to refinance existing taxable debt. Economic development in this case meant everything except the direct financing of gaming facilities. The allocation was divided into two $1 billion pools and allocated over time."

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Dante Desiderio: Treasury Calls Congress to Action on Tribal Capital (Indian Country Today 2/21)

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