FY 2015 the Navajo nation budget priorities Prepared for Tribal/Interior Budget Council National Budget Meeting March 21 & 22 Washington, DC Navajo nation priorities The Navajo Nation’s priorities are based on the economic, environmental, social and cultural needs of the Navajo people to ensure a sustainable and vibrant Navajo Nation. 1. Natural Resources (including NEPA) 2. Public Safety & Justice 3. Education 4. Human Services 5. Construction (O&M) Natural resources • The Navajo Nation seeks to maximize it’s economic opportunities and utilization of all it’s assets. This can only be done when adequate resources are provided for: • Compliance Review including NEPA clearance processing. • Chronic underfunding has led to backlogs that hinder development and clearance processes. • Not only do these conditions hinder development but can exacerbate problems such as: • • • • Drought preparedness Water Management Fish and Wildlife Management Forestry Management Natural Resources • The Navajo Nation is a fossil fuel based economy trying to diversify our portfolio. • We need assistance in renewing and preserving our existing fossil fuel extraction and power activities. • We need programs that will help to develop solar and winds resources, and assistance in building the infrastructure needed to distribute renewable energy. • Costs associated with current imposition of NEPA compliance has slowed renewable development and drought and fire mitigation activities • Projects that provide essential water for human and agricultural consumption such as the Navajo Gallup Water Supply Project, and the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project must be fully funded to ensure completion. • Our natural resources are our trust assets; the Department has a responsibility to fund programs that mitigate the effects of the ongoing drought, forest fires, invasive species and the protection of native species. • Drought preparedness, water management, fish and wildlife management, and forestry management must all receive adequate funding. Public Safety & Justice The Navajo Nation remains chronically underfunded in Public Safety and Justice. 280 commissioned officers cover an area of 27,000 square miles The Nation strives to ensure the safety of its residents and visitors and to ensure adequate detention and court facilities. Underfunding is detrimental to these goals. Navajo Nation Public Safety Operational Information Annual Budget: $16,000,000 Actual Budget Need: $22,000,000 SHORTFALL: $6,000,000 Law Enforcement and the Justice System go hand in hand. The Navajo court system serves the Navajo people through: Tribal Courts, Peacemaking, Probation & parole Our justice system fully embodies the traditional values and processes of the Navajo People in accordance with Navajo Nation laws, customs, traditions, and applicable federal laws. To maintain the operation of the most advanced and respected tribal court system in Indian Country the Navajo Nation requests $3.4 million for tribal courts. Education - Higher education • Every Navajo member that wishes to seek higher education should have the opportunity to do so. 2009-2012 Total Applicants 20,000 18,000 17,291 17,395 17,001 16,000 • 35 million additional funds requested 14,000 12,000 • Funds provided do not support the need of students nor support the rising cost of education 10,000 8,000 6,000 5,436 5,266 5,120 4,000 2,000 0 2010 Total Applicants 2011 2012 Students Funded from Federal Funds • Further the Navajo Nation advocates for full forward funding to ensure students are not left awaiting appropriations. Many drop out while waiting for funds to trickle in from the federal government Johnson-O’Malley Program • Funding under education also covers the Johnson O’Malley Program. • This program not only helps to get youth on the right track but also supports language and culture preservation. • JOM works to ensuring the success of our youth and maintaining Native identity. • At least some of the success that Navajo’s have had in language preservation can be attributed to JOM. According to recent Census statistics Navajo’s maintain the highest rate of language usage at 70%. Human services The Navajo Nation like so much of Indian Country has a large human services need. We rely on human services funding to assist in combating: • Underemployment and Unemployment • Drug/Alcohol/ and Substance abuse • Family violence and neglect Why these issues continue to persist in Indian County is part and parcel of limited economic opportunities. A part of the Navajo Nation’s strategy is to protect these services while addressing the underlying issues that contribute to unsustainable situations. Our need for social services outpaces the national average. These services assist individuals with seeking employment, bringing families back together, and restoring balance and harmony to the individual and the community. Human services - Social Services The service area for the Navajo Nation P.L. 93-638 Social Services contract covers the Navajo Nation and border towns. Navajo 93-638 social workers 35:1 : The National Child Welfare League of America 15:1. 217 miles 217 217 miles 217 miles miles 332 miles : 332 miles Human Services - Housing Every member of the Navajo Nation has safe and suitable housing. The Housing Improvement Program (HIP) HIP provides just that to the most needy of individuals. The funding provided under HIP does not meet the number of requests that come to the Navajo Nation. The Housing Improvement Program is NOT a duplication of HUD NAHASDA. Bennett-Freeze Housing/Rebuilding In 1966 a freeze was placed on this area of the Navajo Nation due to land disputes. Although formally lifted in 2009 a housing need of the nine affected communities is estimated to be over 2,400 homes. Of homes assessed in the area 61% are found to be substandard and in poor to very poor condition. The population of this area is 22,928. Construction (O&M) • While new construction is a priority the Navajo Nation places particular importance on Operations and Maintenance of existing facilities and structures. • Education Buildings – both BIE and 638 schools are underfunded resulting in hazardous learning environments for Navajo children. Basic maintenance cannot be performed even on relatively new buildings that require it due to a lack of funding in this line item. Ex. Navajo Mountain School had to close down due to a loss of water. The shutdown could have been avoided with adequate maintenance. • Public Safety Facilities – even newer facilities face issues of being not being fully utilized due to low operations line items. • Government and other Infrastructure - Lack of for preservation of BIA and tribally owned buildings Conclusion • The Navajo Nation has an obligation to serve the needs of it’s citizens just as the federal government has an obligation to fulfill its trust responsibility • For this reason the Navajo Nation requests: • Contract Support (TPA) costs need to be fully funded (currently at 85%) • Tribal Grant Contract Support costs need to be fully funded (currently at 65%) • Native Nations should be considered in practice MANDATORY/NON DISCRETIONARY FUNDING not subject to reductions under the Deficit Reduction Act aka sequester. • Treaty obligations are not discretionary they are legal compacts.