Study Shows Washington Tribes Significantly Benefit State Economy

A new economic impact analysis reveals Washington’s 29 tribes strongly bolster the state economy, reported the Snohomish County Business Journal. They collectively paid $1.3 billion in wages and benefits in 2010 to 27,376 employees, 66 percent of whom are non-tribal members.

The state’s tribes also purchased $2.4 billion in goods and services from local businesses in 2010. In addition, tribal governments’ one-time capital investments totaled more than $259 million for the same year.

In sum, Washington tribes boosted the state economy by roughly $3.5 billion in 2010.

Jonathan B. Taylor, a nationally-known and Cambridge, Massachusetts-based economist, presented his findings in the economic impact study, released January 18 by the Washington Indian Gaming Association, to a state legislative committee today. He detailed how tribes in Washington are reinvesting their enterprise revenues in new ventures and in turn creating jobs and business opportunities across multiple sectors.

“Tribal investments are having a huge impact in rural areas,” Taylor said in his presentation. “In some countries tribal governments are among the top employers and top buyers of goods and services from local companies.”

“We’re proud of the contribution we are making on our reservations and to Washington’s overall economy,” said W. Ron Allen, chair of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and president of the Washington Indian Gaming Association. “We have a long way to go in Indian Country, but we are making progress.”

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