Casino rejects N.M. tax bill

Jul 23, 2002 8:01 AM

Like the arrangement made by the two Indian casinos in Connecticut which provides a certain state payment in lieu of taxes, 10 tribal nations have signed agreements with the state of New Mexico to pay the state from its slot revenue.

But two other Indian casino operators have not. In fact, they refuse saying the state has no right to demand a share of the casino proceeds. Now joining in the fight are tribal leaders from those who have signed agreements with the state.

They have to pay, they say, so they want the state to close down the non-payers. But, that’s more easily said than done.

"We want action now," a tribal official wrote to the state attorney general. "The casino should be closed, as they are illegally operating at this time," he wrote.

The attorney general replied that "we have sued Pojoaque (the non-paying tribe) to do exactly what you request — either they pay the revenue sharing that is owed to the state or the courts should declare they have no valid compact and close the casino’s operations."

Realistically, however, the AG noted that it wasn’t going to happen soon. "To be frank, however," she wrote, " I think you should understand that if Pojoaque persists in fighting each court ruling each and every step of the way, it could still be some time before a final, non-appealable court judgment is in hand."