Letter: Tribe's actions hurt schools
On March 13, the Skagit Valley Herald published an article regarding problems facing the La Conner School District ("A difficult spot"). They derived from increased property taxes and a voter rebellion that generated the district's first levy loss and potential cuts in educational services. The cause of these problems lies squarely on the Swinomish Indian tribal leadership and their deliberate actions.
Per the Ninth Circuit's Great Wolf Lodge ruling in 2013, it was unlawful for counties to tax "improvements" on leased tribal lands. In 2013 and 2014, the Swinomish Tribe agreed to allow Skagit County "to collect property taxes, ensuring about $5.4 million in tax revenue was still collected" for distribution to the various taxing districts. Tribal Chairman Cladoosby said that "what we did was the right thing to do."