Perce, Kootenai tribes sign tribal fuel tax agreement
the Office of Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter
C.L. "Butch" Otter and officials from the Nez Perce and Kootenai
tribes reached agreements last week for the collection and allocation
of motor fuel taxes on their respective tribal lands, joining the Coeur
d'Alene and Shoshone-Bannock tribes in resolving the issue.
Legislature set a December 1st deadline for these agreements, and I'm
pleased to say that with the help and cooperation of our tribal friends
we met that goal," Governor Otter said. "The Nez Perce and
the Kootenai consistently expressed a willingness to work with us. The
resulting agreements reflect our mutual respect for sovereignty as well
as our shared interests in the people and economy of Idaho."
The Nez Perce agreement provides that tribal retail outlets on the north-central
Idaho reservation will impose a 25-cents-per-gallon tax - the same rate
as the state motor fuels tax, which they already do - on sales of gasoline
and diesel delivered to the reservation by fuel distributors. The tribe
also must increase the tribal fuel tax in the future if the state increases
In addition, the agreement requires the Nez Perce Tribe to spend its
tribal fuel tax revenue on transportation needs - on and off the reservation
- in partnership with federal and state agencies, counties, cities and
highway districts. That spending could include planning, construction,
repair and maintenance of roads and highways, improvement of navigable
waterways or regional public transportation.
The state generated $212 million from its 25-cents-per-gallon fuel tax
in 2006. Nez Perce tribal retail outlets generate an estimated $850,000
a year in fuel tax revenue. The Kootenai Tribe currently has no retail
fuel outlets on its tribal lands. However, the tribe approached the
state seeking an agreement on the sharing of tax revenue that may be
collected from any future retail fuel development.
"The sincere desire of all four tribes to settle things directly,
government to government, rather than through the courts is a testament
to a strong relationship that I'm confident will contribute to even
greater cooperation and mutually beneficial agreements in the future,"
Governor Otter said.
Off-and-on discussions about how to fairly and equitably collect and
allocate revenue from reservation sales continued for years without
significant results before the Legislature set a December 1st deadline
for settlements last winter. All four agreements will be presented to
the Legislature for ratification.