FIRST NATIONS TAX COMMISSION HOLDS FIRST ANNUAL MEETING KAMLOOPS, BRITISH COLUMBIA (September 18, 2008) – The First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) held its first Annual Meeting at its Head Office in Kamloops, BC today.
At the meeting, Chief Commissioner C.T. (Manny) Jules reported on the accomplishments of the FNTC’s first fiscal year and a comprehensive fiscal report of the business operations from July 1, 2007 until March 31, 2008 was provided.
During its first year of operation, the Commission reviewed and developed sample laws (for property taxation, assessment, expenditures and tax rates) and corresponding law review standards, established and staffed offices in Kamloops and Ottawa, created (in partnership with the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics and Thompson Rivers University) an accredited certificate program for tax administrators, and provided advice to the Minister of Indian Affairs on over 100 by-laws under s.83 of the Indian Act.
Chief Commissioner Jules also noted that the Commission’s purpose goes beyond property tax and local revenues. “We strive to build First Nation economies. To do this, we help First Nations create the legal, administrative and infrastructural framework necessary for markets to work on their lands. We help First Nations to create a competitive investment climate, so they can use economic growth as catalyst for greater self reliance,” said Mr. Jules.
To achieve this broader purpose, the FNTC worked in its first year to: expand First Nation revenue options to include the First Nation Goods and Services Tax; ensure First Nations have access to the same infrastructure financing options as local governments in Canada; develop a legislative proposal to support a First Nation land title system; and promote open market residential developments on First Nation lands.
Under s.131 of the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act, the FNTC is required to hold an annual meeting. The Commission views this as an opportunity to demonstrate accountability to First Nations, taxpayers on First Nation lands and interested Canadians. The FNTC welcomes comments and questions.
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