OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council held an Emergency Session on May 11 at the Mound Building to address a single Act of the NC.
The Council excused Representative Robert Hufft, with Rep. Galen Cloud absent, and Rep. Joseph Hicks late; constituting a quorum of 13 present and three absent.
All passed legislation is subject to the full council approval during the regular session.
The Council addressed the following legislation, the interpretation of which is attributed to language in the bills:
NCA 22-061 Authorizing a supplemental appropriation for the MCN Tax Commission for fiscal year 2022. Rep. Thomasene Yahola Osborn sponsored the Act, which postponed until the Regular Session scheduled for May 21, 10-3. Rep. Randall Hicks, Rep Thomasene Yahola Obsorn and Rep. Mark Randolph voted against the motion to postpone.
The Tax Commission is need of funds to open new office location in Jenks, Okemah, and Coweta and to hire additional staff in order to better serve citizens, now that the Motor Vehicle Department can issue tags/license plates throughout the State of OK.
The funds of $445,956 were proposed to cover the salaries for new positions, additional supplies and software for the remainder of the FY 2022.
According to Deputy Tax Commissioner Mary Mushunkashay, this legislation is based around serving the citizens efficiently and accurately.
She claims that the lease agreements at said locations have been approved by the MCN Attorney General’s office.
Due to McGirt the department will experience upcoming rapid growth, Mashunkashay says it is important that there is efficient workspace and space for expansion.
Rep. Joyce Deere asked Mashunkashay if it were true when she said the Nation would make millions off of this service.
“Yes,” Mashunkashay said. “All of the revenue from issuing these tags statewide will come back to the Nation.”
This is because the MCN does not require any compacts with the state to issue their tags.
“The reason they do compacts is for revenue sharing,” she said.
She claims there will be nine positions throughout the three locations immediately available and wants to fill those quickly as possible.
The Jenks location is projected to be the busiest location according the Deputy Tax Commissioner.
“I think its real important that we are present in Tulsa” Mashunkashay said. “We have so many citizens in that area.”
The Okemah location was disclosed as 202 W Atlanta Unit B, which was chosen due to the easy access off of I-40.
The location in Coweta is office space in a strip mall that lies on trust land, which Mashunkashay said was a great opportunity for the Tax Commission.
Operations at the Southern Regional Office will remain as is.
“We don’t have that many that come through that office (SRO Office),” Mashunkashay said.
In the future, the Commission will look at Eufaula for a possible future location.
Rep. Osborn recommended using the Nation’s center in OKC for a possible location to serve citizens in that area.
Mashunkashay claimed that she had considered that and even spoke with the Tribal Liason for At-Large Citizens Anne Townsend, which ultimately was not something that could be worked out at this time.
Mashunkashay is aware that department will have to move out further from reservations’ central area because Muscogee citizens are spread out all over state
“This is just our first to stepping out,” she said. “We are looking at all of these avenues to be able to branch out and service everyone.”
It is her wish to start issuing tags to all citizens living in the state of OK as early as June 1 or July 1.
This is a developing story.
The recorded Emergency Session can be viewed a www.mcnnc.com.
The Regular Session will be live streamed at 10 a.m. on May 21.