May 13: 5 Things You Need to Know This Week

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Photo of the Week: Congratulations to the 2024 Leading People and Investing to Build Sustainable Communities program at Harvard Business School! (left to right: NAFOA 1st Vice President VaRene Martin, AFOA Canada President and CEO Terry Goodtrack, and NAFOA President Rodney Butler).

1. NAFOA NEWS:
NAFOA ELECTS TRIBAL LEADER RODNEY BUTLER AS PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

NAFOA, founded as the Native American Finance Officers Association, has elected Chairman Rodney Butler of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation as the new President of the Board of Directors. Butler succeeds Cristina Danforth of the Oneida Nation who served as President of the Board for six years. At the 2023 Fall Finance & Tribal Economies Conference, Danforth announced her decision not to seek reelection and she officially retired at the 42nd Annual Conference last week.
 
Chairman Butler has been involved with NAFOA over the years and has a demonstrated commitment to the organization. In his words, “The growth and sustainability of our tribal economies is one of the greatest contributors to the advancement of tribal sovereignty in recent history. Through advocacy, educational efforts, and convening of the brightest minds in Indian Country, NAFOA has served as the cornerstone of economic advancement for our nations. I have been engaged with NAFOA, learning, collaborating, and guiding others in a way that has made me a better leader. No other organization focuses on the cultivation of tribal economies like NAFOA, and I am honored to serve as NAFOA’s next President.”

2. WEBINAR:
WEBINAR ON ELECTIVE PAY FINAL REGULATIONS

Tuesday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time

On March 5, 2024, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final guidance on direct/elective pay of clean energy credits under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). At the same time, Treasury issued a proposed rule on certain joint ownership arrangements under elective pay, with a Tribal consultation held on April 5. On April 25, 2024, Treasury and the IRS issued final guidance on transfers of certain credits under the IRA. Following their final regulations, the IRS also updated their frequently asked questions regarding direct/elective pay.

To provide an update on what these changes mean for tribal governments interested in taking advantage of direct/elective pay, NAFOA is partnering with the Treasury for a webinar on Tuesday, May 21st at 2:30 p.m. ET. Staff from the Treasury will discuss these final regulations, how entities can take advantage of transferability, and answer questions that any tribal leaders may have.

3. POLICY:

TRIBAL TAX & INVESTMENT REFORM ACT INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS BY REP. GWEN MOORE

Thursday, April 25, 2024, 2:00 PM EST

Last week, Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) introduced H.R. 8318, the Tribal Tax and Investment Reform Act. Previously introduced every Congress since the 113th by Representative Kind (D-WI) before retirement, the new legislation has important changes to previously introduced measures, as well as several new provisions.
NAFOA Board of Directors President Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation said of the bill, “This legislation is a significant step forward for tribal tax parity, and critical to spur business development in Indian Country. Allowing tribes greater access to tax-free bonds and making a much-needed increase in available credit will help create jobs and economic growth. Additional changes in the legislation, such as those to the New Market Tax Credits or General Welfare, will help bring the federal tax code more in line with the treaty obligations of the federal government. NAFOA strongly supports the ‘Tribal Tax and Investment Reform Act’ introduced by Representatives Moore and Schweikert, and looks forward to working together to ensure its enactment for Indian Country.”

4. ADVOCACY:
NAFOA PRESENTS TESTIMONY TO HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES

NAFOA testified at the “American Indian and Alaska Native Public Witness” hearings before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, advocating for appropriations to benefit Indian Country and tribal business development:
Transfer programs from discretionary to mandatory funding – Reclassifying programs would assist tribes with their financial planning and make budget forecasting far more accurate. Ensuring mandatory funding is important to the business development of tribes who rely on these federal programs and funds.
Funding and Authorization for Technical Support and Assistance for tribal programs across the board – Funding needs to be made available with authorizing changes attached to ensure that all tribal programs, grants, loan opportunities, and more have across-the-board technical assistance to help answer all the questions that tribes and tribal entities might have.
Permanent Authorization and Funding for the Office of Tribal and Native Affairs (OTNA) at the Department of the Treasury –  As outlined by the Department of the Treasury, the OTNA is established to: (1) to advise on Tribal policy and program implementation; (2) coordinate Tribal consultations; and (3) manage the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC). Currently, the Office has a budget of $2 million and employs 8 staff, and even in the short time the OTNA has been in existence it has already had a positive impact far exceeding its cost.
Increased lending authorization for the Indian Loan Guarantee Program (ILGP) – The amount that loans are applied for has increased dramatically over the past few years. Since the program constantly reaches its maximum authority, this significantly reduces the amount of loans that can be offered. The ILGP has been a major economic benefit to tribes of all sizes, helping to establish credit, and creating new job opportunities that would otherwise not exist.

5. JOBS:
NAFOA CONTINUES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SEARCH

The incoming Executive Director will lead NAFOA’s initiatives, working collaboratively with tribal leadership, financial professionals, and federal partners to meet the challenges of economic growth and change in Indian Country. They will serve as chief executive officer of the organization, and will be responsible for overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of NAFOA, as summarized below:
Board Governance: Responsible for leading NAFOA in alignment with its mission and ensuring effective communication, as well as safeguarding fiscal integrity by proposing annual budgets and maintaining financial viability through resource management and fundraising efforts;
Organization Mission and Strategy: Responsible for executing NAFOA’s programs, strategic planning for long-term mission fulfillment, and enhancing visibility through engagement with various stakeholders;
Organization Operations: Responsible for overseeing NAFOA’s operations, managing staff recruitment and retention, and serving as the signatory authority for all organizational agreements and documents.
NAFOA invites qualified candidates with dedicated experience in tribal economic development to apply for this critical position

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