Presentation on theme: "FY 2014 BIA EASTERN REGION BUDGET TESTIMONY MARCH, 2012."— Presentation transcript:
FY 2014 BIA EASTERN REGION BUDGET TESTIMONY MARCH, 2012
SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITIONS Socio-economic measures show that American Indian and Alaskan Natives continue to significantly trail the general U.S. population poverty rate of American 35.7% of Indians and Alaska Natives are living below the 125% poverty rate in comparison to 16.7% of the white race
The unemployment rate was 47% higher for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives than whites – at 17.9% and 9.5% respectively.
Reported median income for American Indians and Alaska Natives was $35,062, 33.7% less than the white race median income of $52,840.
In keeping with the: Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Mission to: “Enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives” and Bureau of Indian Education’s Mission to: “Provide quality education opportunities from early childhood through life in Indian Country” The Eastern Region tribes have prioritized the following programs:
Eastern Region Tribal Program Priorities 2014 Tribal Court Law Enforcement Scholarships Economic Development
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT The Eastern Region tribes have identified Economic Development as a key component to achieving self-sufficiency and improving tribal socioeconomic conditions. With the staggering unemployment rates experienced throughout Indian Country it is essential that tribes develop economic enterprises and job opportunities within their homelands. It has been recognized in numerous reports that several of the critical challenges to economic development within Indian Country include:
Legal and Administrative Barriers: Investors and businesses often require assurances to federal or state courts for dispute resolution before business with a tribe or tribal business. Often such assurances require a limited waiver of tribal sovereignty. Further the lack of commercial code, zoning regulations, and tax policies presents barriers that can deter potential investors and business partners.
Lack of Investment Capital: Lack of capital, either in the form of debt or equity financing, Makes it difficult to start new businesses or to expand existing ones. Focus on short-term rather than long-term results: Stakeholders, tribal members, & tribal leaders are often pressured into steering business development in directions that are inconsistent with the long-term planning perspective and investment strategies required to make a venture successful.
Lack of Bonding: With the unique status of American Indian’s land holding and assets it is often difficult for tribal businesses to attain the necessary bonding and other required insurances. To overcome these challenges it is paramount that funding for Economic Development be increased. The FY 2013 President’s budget request for Economic Development includes only $2.4 million which is slightly more than the FY 2012 enacted level, but as illustrated in the following chart is approximately 52% less than the FY 2008 level.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Enacted Proposed Program Economic Development $4,531$3,493$2,241$2,371$2,342$2,366 It is essential that tribes have the financial resources to assist them with developing long-term economic development plans & strategies and to conduct business feasibility studies that are essential to business development.
L Loan Guarantee: The lack of investment capital is a major barrier to economic development within Indian Country. Often, the BIA Loan Guarantee is the only financing resource available to tribes. The FY 2013 budget proposes a reduction of $2.1 million for the Loan Guarantee Program until the program undergoes an independent evaluation. Considering the devastating socioeconomic conditions of our tribal people we cannot afford to wait until the federal government completes yet another evaluation. Throughout the last several years, funding for the Loan Guarantee Program is diminishing, as noted in the following table:
LOAN GUARANTEE Enacted Proposed Program Loan Guarantee $5,489$6,586 $8,199$7,103$5,000 Loan Guarantee Program be restored to at least the FY 2011enacted level of $8.2. If the Administration does indeed go ahead with its plans for an independent evaluation we would request that the evaluation also entail a study on overcoming the tribes’ inability to access surety bonding and insurance requirements necessary for business development.
Further, we request that appropriate resources be Included in future budget requests that address the bonding and insurance barriers.
TRIBAL COURTS The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ FY 2012 enacted budget includes only $23.4 million to operate approximately 185 BIA funded Tribal Courts and Courts of Federal Regulations, averaging $126,486 per Court. Even though the FY 2013 budget proposes a slight funding increase of $1.2 million, it still is significantly below the amount needed to provide for the much needed judicial systems in Indian Country.
As illustrated below, significant funding gains were being made from FY 2008 until FY 2011, unfortunately in FY 2012 a budget decline was experienced, resulting in less funding for the direct operations of Tribal Courts. Enacted Proposed Program Tribal Courts $14,338$14,508$24,704$27,088$23,407$24,567
In a 2011 GAO Report entitled “Indian Criminal Country Criminal Justice” it was substantiated that of the 12 tribes visited 11 of tribes’ Tribal Court Budgets were totally inadequate to carry out Tribal Court operations. Key personnel such as public defenders, prosecutors, and probation officers were often non-existent due to funding limitations. The need for additional Tribal Court funding is further magnified with the passage of the Tribal Law Order Act which increases tribes sentencing authority and other jurisdictional rights. Many tribes will not be able to implement the provisions of this Act without being provided adequate resources.
Further, as previously mentioned one of the challenges to economic development in Indian Country is that outside business investors and partners are often reluctant to invest in Indian Country since tribes do not have the judicial systems necessary to resolve any contract disputes and other business matters. Additional funding for Tribal Courts will assist tribes in overcoming this challenge and be a step closer to developing strong tribal economies.
SCHOLARSHIPS A college education is a significant factor in the socioeconomic advancement of American Indian communities, particularly in relation to opportunities for jobs and increased earnings. An individual with a bachelor’s degree or greater has the capacity to earn at least four times the annual income of a high school dropout and more than twice the annual income of high school graduate.
As illustrated in the following table, the earnings of American Indians, age 25 and older; lag considerably behind the U.S. population average at all educational categories. Average income for U.S. population and American Indians age 25 and older by educational attainment, 2005 U.S. PopulationAmerican Indians All educational levels$35,187$22,856 Less than a high school diploma$14,640$10,534 High school graduates, no college $24,811$20,721 Some College, no degree $31,726$25,966 Bachelor's Degree or higher $57,330$45,214
The FY 2013 President’s Budget proposes scholarship funding at a level of $29.9 million with an average award of $2,700 for 8,957 students, in relation to FY 2010 enacted funding level this is a funding decrease of approximately $4.7 million and decreases the number of American Indian and Alaska Native students receiving BIA scholarship by 4%. Enacted Proposed Program Scholarships$29,581$29,663$34,585$34,432$29,432$29,858 Awards7,7807,8389,3159,2848,8308,957
Access by American Indians to quality higher education is one step to moving this segment of American society from the lowest levels of poverty to the realization of self-sufficiency. We request the Scholarship funding remain a priority and the funding level be restored to at least the FY 2010 funding level of $34.6 million.
LAW ENFORCEMENT The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reported from the latest available data that crime rates experienced by American Indians nationwide are two and half times higher than those experienced by the general population in the United States. In a study conducted by BIA in 2006 it was found that in accordance with Department of Justice research, there are 1.3 officers per 1000 residents in Indian Country opposed to the national average
of 2.6 officers per 1,000 in non-Indian jurisdictions. Tribes recognize that some progress has been achieved over the last several years but to fulfill one of the President’s and Tribal Leaders’ top priorities “protecting Indian communities” much work is still required. Enacted Proposed Program Law Enforcement$228,137$255,077$303,152$305,893$321,944$328,444
Drug traffickers and illegal immigrants continue to target tribal lands due to the known gaps in law enforcement coverage in those areas. For tribes to continue their quest for safer communities and continue combating the “war against drugs” - more law enforcement personnel Is needed. Additional funding must be made available for the hiring, retention, and training of patrolman, investigators, drug enforcement officers, and school resource officers.
Specific to the Eastern Region, many of our tribes have expressed the following concerns: Staffing/Population Ratio: Particularly, they are concerned that this ratio is or will be used as a factor in determining funding levels for tribes. Tribes with small populations could not possibly provide 24 hour day coverage. Furthermore, the ratio does not give any consideration for the required supportive staff, such as dispatchers which are a vital component to law enforcement operations.
The Eastern Region Tribes request that consideration be given to smaller tribes and minimal staffing needs for 24 hour a day operations be considered. Facilities: Eastern Region tribes have expressed concerns regarding the lack of facility funding. Many of our tribes operate out of dilapidated law enforcement buildings and lack appropriate security which not only endangers the officers and civilians lives, but also is a prohibiting factor
in tribes operating state/federal law enforcement databases, such as NCIC. The Eastern tribes request additional funding to bring tribal law enforcement facilities up to standard conditions and, as contracting and compacting tribes, should not be excluded from any assessments or funding streams that are available to federally owned or managed facilities.