Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown renegotiates tribal gambling pact

Gov. Jerry Brown has renegotiated a gambling compact with a major tribe in San Diego County, citing declining gambling revenue in a pact that will reduce the tribe’s required payments to the state, Brown’s office said Wednesday.

In a compact signed by the governor the previous day, the Brown administration and officials with the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians said the tribe can no longer afford terms of a 2004 compact, which required Viejas to contribute a flat fee of $17.4 million to the general fund each year.

The Department of Finance estimated that the state will receive reduced revenue of about $3 million to $5 million annually under the new deal, which requires the tribe to contribute a percentage of earnings.

The original compact was one of five major agreements Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed with tribes in 2004.

Since that time, the revised agreement said, “circumstances in the overall economy and the casino gaming market have changed,” reducing casino revenues. The Viejas tribe said it could not adequately fund its own government if it continued to make payments under the 2004 deal.

Brown was a regular supporter of tribal interests when he was governor before, from 1975, to 1983, and he is widely considered more accommodating of tribes than Schwarzenegger. The agreement signed this week is the latest in a handful of compacts Brown has negotiated since taking office.

American Indian tribes with casinos are significant donors to California campaigns. Viejas has made about $711,000 in contributions since January 2013 to state candidates and campaign committees, but none directly to Brown, according to state records.

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