Anthony Broadman has published a paper, "Know Your Enemy: Local Taxation and Tax Agreements in Indian Country," has been published in the inaugural edition of Seattle University's American Indian Law Journal.
Intergovernmental disputes between tribes and their neighbors have educated states about tribal sovereignty. What many state governments have learned, through litigation, political battle, and intergovernmental dispute, is that even when states have “won” tax disputes, they have lost. This dependably pyrrhic result has driven rational state actors—state taxing authorities acting consistently with their own best fiscal interests—to pursue negotiated agreements. Today, state-tribal tax compacts, while often controversial, are commonplace.
Counties and cities, on the other hand, with some admirable exceptions, have yet to learn, or heed, lessons from inter-local tax disputes. As it stands, tribes must be prepared for future battles over local taxation in Indian Country, particularly in regard to real or personal property owned by tribes. But as counties and municipal governments slowly learn the lessons already learned by the states, tribes should also be ready to negotiate intergovernmental solutions to inter-local tax disputes.
Anthony Broadman is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian majority-owned law firm. His practice focuses on company-critical business litigation and representing tribal governments, especially in federal, state and local tax controversy. He can be reached at 206.691.3631 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or or via galandabroadman.com.