Linda Capps: Citizen Potawatomi Nation is a good neighbor

Linda Capps, vice chairman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

Linda Capps, the vice chairman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma, explains how tribe spends its tax revenue:
Citizen Potawatomi Nation has created many tribal enterprises in order to achieve economic sustainability. The tax we collect at our grocery stores, bowling center, ball fields and golf course are all key components needed to achieve that dream. We spend 100 percent of every tax dollar on government services such as roads, services for our citizens and neighboring communities, education, emergency response and job creation. In Shawnee alone, we’ve created 7 of every 10 jobs for the past decade.

Despite this, certain political figures in the City of Shawnee believe they are entitled to what we have built using the tools available to us as tribes. Some have attempted to muddy the very clear picture of what one of those tools, tribal sovereignty, truly entails. But a willful ignorance of tribal sovereignty is not an excuse to simply hope it does not exist as a matter of legal principle.

Those same figures have loudly claimed their reluctance at filing a lawsuit against Shawnee’s neighboring tribes. Yet common sense leads me to question that if those political figures are sincere about not wanting to sue, why have they contracted a high-priced, out-of-state law firm who specializes in litigation?

If the City of Shawnee is successful in its attempt to collect sales tax revenue from tribal enterprises as the result of a lawsuit, it will directly impact those we strive to serve. It will be taking critical services from the neediest in our community. Without this tax revenue we will not be able to continue our record job creation in Pottawatomie, Oklahoma and Lincoln counties. We won’t be able to continue building roads that you as citizens drive on. Nor would it be possible to expand water and sewer infrastructure that serves increasing numbers of our rural area neighbors. Worst of all, we won’t be able to continue the support of our community.

Get the Story:
Tribes have struggled through the years. (The Shawnee News-Star 4/21)

Related Stories:
Opinion: City looking for agreement with tribes over sales taxes (04/10)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation objects to mediation for sales taxes (4/9)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation closes cultural center due to damage (4/3)
Oklahoma might side with city in dispute over tribes and taxes (3/27)
Oklahoma tribes meet with city to discuss dispute over sales tax (3/25)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation accuses city of bullying on sales tax (3/20)
City won't provide sales tax information to Oklahoma tribes (3/17)
Oklahoma tribes might walk away from meeting over sales tax (3/13)
Oklahoma city to meet with tribes over request for sales taxes (02/28)
City cites Supreme Court ruling in push for sales tax from tribes (2/24)
Tribes seek more information about city's request for sales tax (02/19)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation plans to create separate community (2/18)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation questions city's taxation stance (2/6)
Oklahoma city wants tribes to pay taxes on non-Indian sales (2/5)

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