December 14, 2017

Meeting may resolve tribal tax quandary

By Jerry W. Kram
A meeting between tribal and North Dakota legislative leaders could resolve a dispute that threatens to dry up alcohol sales on the Fort Berthold Reservation.
Alcohol wholesalers that serve the region have declined to purchase distribution and transportation licenses that are now required to sell beer, wine and spirits to bars and liquor stores on the reservation. The MHA Nation imposed the license fee and additional regulations, including inspections of facilities and records, as part of tribal sales tax on all alcohol sales on the reservation. Distributes have said that they do not object to the fee, but fear that the ordinance’s inspection requirements could open them up to liability claims.
Tribal Chairman Mark Fox said that alcohol puts a strain on tribal resources such as law enforcement, medical care and addiction treatment and the state does not contribute to those programs out of the sales taxes collected on the reservation.

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