Recent action by the Muscogee Creek Nation (MCN) shows that we still don’t know just how wide the scope of the McGirt v. Oklahoma decision could be.
The MCN council is considering tribal resolutions that would provide funding to the MCN’s Attorney General’s office to look into various effects the McGirt decision might have on tribal members. The tribal council would receive a monthly report regarding the effects the McGirt decision would have on “tribal government, corporate and business matters, taxation, regulation, jurisdictional matters, and advice on litigation matters.”
This is much more than simply the criminal-law issues that the case was originally thought to affect.
To be sure, the impact on criminal cases has grown in severity as more and more cases have been dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction by the State. But in the months since McGirt was handed down, questions surrounding the scope of the decision have grown. For example, jurisdiction over mining operations is being disputed. Property taxes, primarily affecting public schools, have come into question. And now, as one tribal resolution put it, “There are income tax issues faced by Muscogee (Creek) citizens that may require legal assistance.”
With more than a third of the state possibly affected by McGirt, any disputes regarding the income tax would have a large impact. The state collected more than $4 billion from the individual income tax in 2019.
As OCPA has said for several months now, it is important that the federal government take action to resolve these disputes.