The Mille Lacs Band Assembly — with three new members who took office last summer — is once again considering changes to the Band's Revenue Allocation Plan, or RAP.
The RAP, which defines how tribal governments spend gaming revenues, is required under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act if tribes intend to allocate per capita payments to individual members from revenue derived from tribal gaming activities.
Mille Lacs Band’s current RAP plan allocates net gaming revenues as follows: government spending (25%), per capita distributions (35%), long-term savings (15%), economic development (8%), permanent initiative (7%), housing initiative (5%), Circle of Health endowment (5%). The current RAP plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Interior on September 1, 2010.
In 2010, Chief Executive Marge Anderson and the Band Assembly (Herb Weyaus, Sandra Blake, Marvin Bruneau, and Harry Davis) increased the per capita percentage of the RAP from 25 to 35 percent and decreased long-term savings from 25 to 15 percent. In addition, adult Band members were allocated 25 percent more than minors with the understanding that the extra percentage would allow adult Band members to provide the necessities required to adequately support their households. The goal of the higher percentage to adults vs. minors was to eliminate ongoing loans, donations, and other financial emergencies experienced by adult Band members.
When per capita payments were introduced, they were intended to fluctuate based on casino revenue, as defined by the RAP. The amount available for per capita distributions would be 35 percent of available net revenue for any given month.
Several years ago, the Band Assembly set the payments at $933 per month, and since then they have not tracked with casino revenue. On an annual basis, OMB conducts a true-up calculation to ensure that the Band does not pay out more than the 35 percent designated in the current RAP. Any shortfalls have to be made up from other revenue streams not associated with the Band’s net gaming revenue.