Questions and Answers
1. Has the Indian Fair Share Initiative qualified for the ballot?
Yes! Thanks to the enthusiastic support of more than 1,000,000 Californians who signed petitions, the Indian Fair Share Initiative has qualified for the November ballot.
2. Why did you file this initiative on Indian gaming?
This initiative was filed to cause new compacts on Indian gaming that would be more beneficial to the taxpayers and to the California Indian Tribes. It will preserve options for Indian Tribes as they engage in compact negotiations that Governor Schwarzenegger has re-opened. The Governor has suggested proposals, including new revenue to California from the tribes, and this initiative would address helping California taxpayers. Also, there is a controversial plan by card clubs and racetracks to expand full casino gaming throughout California, which this initiative would prohibit. This initiative will provide more choices so ultimately a fair solution for the people of California and Indian tribal governments alike could be reached.
3. What is the essence of the new initiative?
Although Indian sovereignty means they are not required to pay any taxes, California Indian Tribes are willing to pay their fair share too. Led by the Agua Caliente Tribal Government, they want to be helpful to the people of California by voluntarily paying to the State a part of their gaming revenue in the same way that any other businesses pay state income taxes. That is the heart and soul of the initiative – to treat Indian gaming like any other business. It also will prohibit the expansion of casino gambling off Indian Reservations.
4. Why an initiative and not just negotiating with the Governor and the Legislature?
Indians have always had tremendous confidence in the people of California to make the right decisions. The government historically has not treated Indians very well. However, Indians do have confidence that the people of this state want to do the right thing and will treat them fairly. While the Indian Tribes are always willing to talk and address issues, sometimes the people have better solutions than the politicians and bureaucrats in Sacramento.
5. Was this initiative started because of the card club and racetrack initiative?
This initiative was put forward because Indians think it is a positive step in having Indian gaming contribute back to the people of this state a fair share of the revenues that have been generated from Indian gaming. The public has been very clear that they oppose the expansion of non-Indian gaming in California off of Indian Reservations. The card club and racetrack proposal to expand gaming throughout California is not going to be successful, and only serves to confuse the issues. This initiative would help the gaming Indians tribes, the people of California and the taxpayers as well.
6. What is the “Larry Flynt Initiative”?
The “Larry Flynt Initiative” is the same initiative that is supported by the card clubs and racetracks. Even though Larry Flynt is more known as the Publisher of Hustler Magazine, he also owns a card club in Los Angeles and is a principal backer of their initiative. Their initiative imposes conditions on Indian gaming, including higher taxes than are paid by giant corporations, just so the Indians cannot comply. That would automatically allow the card clubs and racetracks to put 30,000 slot machines throughout California. They try to sugar-coat it by claiming the money will be used for popular government programs, which shows how devious they have been to try and trick voters into expanding gaming throughout California.
7. Are other tribal governments supporting your initiative?
As one of the leading California Indian Tribal Governments, the Agua Caliente Tribe has drafted and researched this initiative. They have advised other tribal governments of their intention to pursue this initiative because it would be right for the taxpayers of California and right for the Indian Tribes of California. Because all Indian Tribes in California want to pay their Fair Share, there is widespread support for this initiative.
8. Does this initiative prevent an expansion of gambling in communities?
The initiative continues to limit casino gaming to Indian Reservations. There will be a state Constitutional prohibition of any expansion of gaming in local communities off of Indian reservations, and racetracks and card clubs would be prohibited from expanding their current operations into full-fledged casinos.
9. How does this initiative affect gambling on Indian Reservations?
The initiative leaves gaming decisions to the Tribes themselves. Under the new compacts, each tribe would be able to decide for themselves how many casinos they wished to operate on their Indian Reservation, what types of games they chose to operate and how many machines they would operate. As businesspeople, they would get to make the decisions, like other private businesses, without interference from the government. Market forces would determine the best decisions. While it is likely that many of the tribes will have more slot machines on their reservations, it is unlikely that there would be a major expansion of the number of casinos. The law already allows each tribe to have two casinos, but only one tribe has made the decision to have two casinos.
10. How will the initiative affect environmental concerns?
Under the two compacts created by this initiative, Indian tribes must prepare environmental impact reports analyzing the off-reservation impacts of any proposed new or expanded gaming facilities, and they must consult with the public and local government officials to develop a good-faith plan to mitigate any significant adverse environmental impacts. Indians already have a good record of protecting and preserving the environment, and this initiative provides for a formal process that would involve the local community as well.