Tuesday, July 5, 2011

After Schwarzeneggers Incompetent Handling of Gaming Compacts; Pala Tribe Wants to Renegotiate

Arnold Schwarzenegger's legacy will be FAILURE.    Here's more evidence of that from Ed Sifuentes of the NCTIMES:

The Pala Band of Mission Indians in North County says it wants to renegotiate its gambling agreement with the state following the Rincon Band of Mission Indians' court victory last week against the state over casino payments.

Pala, which operates a casino and resort complex on its reservation east of Fallbrook, agreed in 2004 to pay millions into the state's general fund in exchange for more slot machines. The tribe pays about $18 million a year, said Pala Chairman Robert Smith.

The state's general fund is its main pot of money to pay for government operations. The state is partly resnposible for overseeing tribal gambling, which voters legalized

Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger offered Rincon, which operates a Harrah's-brand hotel and casino near Valley Center, a similar deal but the tribe rejected the offer and sued the state in federal court. Rincon argued the payments amounted to an illegal tax and the courts agreed.

Rincon won the lawsuit last week after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the state's appeal of a lower court's decision.

Smith said Pala wants a new deal based on the court's decision.

"I think the revenue we pay to the state needs to be re-evaluated," Smith said.

The tribe is willing to keep paying but not into the general fund, Smith said. He would prefer that the payments be used to address local problems, such as law enforcement, fire protection and road improvements, the chairman said.

If other tribes follow Pala's lead, the state could lose hundreds of millions in revenue, making its budget woes much worse. Fifteen tribes, including Pala, pay a combined total of $360 million a year into the general fund, according to the state.

Thus far, no other tribes have stepped forward to renegotiate their agreements since last week's court decision. The Viejas Band of Mission Indians in East County, which has an agreement similar to Pala's, said last week that it has no plans to renegotiate.

Read more: http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/sdcounty/article_68630f8e-6ba7-5057-973f-bf43f071c26e.html#ixzz1RHN8eASs
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