Gov. Perdue, Cherokee Reach New Compact
Agreement Will Mean Funds for Classrooms and Hundreds of Jobs
Gov. Bev Perdue and leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have reached an agreement that will inject additional funding directly into classrooms, and create 400 new jobs in western North Carolina, by expanding the Cherokee’s gaming enterprises.
“My top priorities are strengthening our schools and creating jobs, and this agreement does both,” Gov. Perdue said. “This will mean additional dollars going directly to school districts, and it will provide an economic boost for western North Carolina. I urge the General Assembly to act so that we can quickly start receiving the benefits of this expansion.”
“Today represents the culmination of months of hard work by the Governor’s office and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” said Principal Chief Michell Hicks. “This agreement will provide substantial economic benefit to tribal members and throughout western North Carolina. This agreement further demonstrates the Cherokees’ commitment to educating our young people through the education funding initiative. We value our partnership with the state and are grateful to the Governor for her help and to the leadership in the General Assembly for their continued support.”
Administration officials urged the General Assembly to pass the needed conforming technical modifications as soon as possible.
The 30-year compact will allow the Cherokee to offer live table gaming, and it will provide for the state to receive a share of revenue generated from these new games. The compact calls for the state’s share of the revenue to be channeled directly to school districts. The school districts will be required to spend the funds on educating students in the classroom.
The North Carolina School Board Association (NCSBA) applauded efforts to direct more funding to help strengthen our schools. “On behalf of the more than 1.4 million students that are served through our education system, school boards are grateful for the additional resources these funds will provide to strengthen the opportunities our students will receive in the classroom,” said Chuck Francis, President of NCSBA.
Kit Cramer, the President and CEO of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, also praised the agreement, saying that it “adds 400 jobs without paying incentives and creates good synergy for travel and tourism in the Asheville area.”
Perdue administration officials and Cherokee leaders spent months negotiating the compact and worked out a variety of complicated issues. Among the more important components of the agreement, the state will grant the Cherokee exclusive live table gaming rights west of Interstate 26. In exchange, the Cherokee will pay the state:
4 percent of gross receipts from live table gaming during the first five years;
5 percent the next five years;
6 percent the next five years;
7 percent the next five years; and
8 percent during the next ten years.
Gov. Perdue and Chief Hicks executed the agreement Monday morning. Once the General Assembly acts, the agreement will be sent to the U.S. Department of the Interior for approval.Read the full article