Robert McGhee: Poarch Creek gaming pays for essential services

"In 1984, the United States federally recognized the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. A short time later, we opened our first gaming operation. Under federal law, we must use our gaming revenues, first and foremost, to pay for essential governmental services for our tribal members: health care, education, infrastructure needs and fire and police protection.

While we are responsible for governing ourselves and providing benefits to our tribal members, we do not have the same tax revenues that other local governments do. This is why economic development is so vital to our ability to provide for our people and help our neighbors in surrounding communities.

Federal recognition also means that the federal government holds our lands in trust. For that reason, neither we, nor the federal government, pay property taxes on it. However, our businesses do generate millions in other taxes (like payroll). These taxes far exceed any property taxes that we would pay if our Indian land was not held in trust.

These are the facts. Still, these adversaries refuse to admit that their legal arguments are wrong. They continue to cite two Supreme Court rulings that have nothing to do with us (other than they deal with Indians and land)."

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