Press Release — Job-Killing Bill Could Cost U.S. Taxpayers More Than $1 Billion

CBO warns that taxpayers may have to pay to protect East Valley Tribes’ market share 

GLENDALE, Ariz. – In a major development, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has found that the legislation to halt the Tohono O’odham Nation’s West Valley Resort project could cost the federal government in excess of $1 billion. In its report, CBO further stated that “because enacting H.R. 308 could increase direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply.” In other words, Congress may have to cut other federal spending or raise taxes in order to pay for this legislation.

H.R. 308/S.152 creates a no-competition zone for the benefit of two East Valley tribes by seeking to prevent the Nation from gaming on its established reservation lands in the West Valley. The Tohono O’odham Nation has won 16 court and federal agency rulings confirming its rights to its reservation and to conduct gaming, and relying on these decisions the Nation has been constructing its facility for the last eight months. This announcement by the CBO—a nonpartisan agency which produces independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues—calls into question why fiscally conservative members of Congress would want to support this legislation.

More than 1,300 construction workers are currently building the Nation’s project, and more than 3,000 permanent jobs will be created when the construction has been completed. These jobs would be taken away if H.R. 308/S. 152 passed, as would the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual economic impacts that it would create in Arizona.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. said, “We have never understood why certain members of the Arizona Congressional delegation are working so hard to send Arizona workers to the unemployment line. Now we also are trying to understand why they would be willing to make American taxpayers foot the bill for creating this job-killing legislation, all to protect the market share of a few wealthy special interests.”

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The Tohono O’odham Nation is a federally-recognized Indian tribe, with reservation lands in Maricopa County, Pinal County, and Pima County, Arizona.  The West Valley Resort is located on the Nation’s reservation land at 95th and Northern avenues. It will generate thousands of new jobs and more than $300 million in annual economic impact. For more information, visit www.westvalleyresort.com.