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Oneida Nation Agreement

This week has been an important one for the Oneida Indian Nation. And it can be summed up in one word: change. From an evolving casino to a big compromise that will directly affect our taxes.
This week has been an important one for the Oneida Indian Nation. And it can be summed up in one word: change. From an evolving casino to a big compromise that will directly affect our taxes.

"It is an increasing competitive environment, and we know this," says Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation.

This week the turning stone casino changed their machines to cash machines. This comes after proposition one passed that will allow more casinos to be built within a 16 county radius of Turning Stone. But this is half of an agreement that has been an ongoing battle between the county, the state and the Oneida Nation. Twenty-five percent of the slots net revenue will go to the government.

"These funds will allow economic development in the state of New York, they'll aid the creations of jobs, which is what this is all about," says Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Oneida County receives a quarter of the state's portion every three months. So on Apr. 1 they will get roughly $12.5 million from the Oneida Nation. In addition the county receives 2.5 million over the next 19 years for back taxes. And county officials say this is money that will help the area in big ways.

"It's about first and foremost stabilizing taxes to the best we can to offset increases that are either mandated on the federal or state side,” says Anthony Picente, Oneida County Executive.

But this agreement is much more than just a check. It ends millions of dollars in litigation fees and more importantly it's a symbol of burying the hatchet. And that is going to open more doors for the state, the county and the Oneida Nation.

“There’s a lot more that we can do and it's our best interest to continue it. And this settlement finally ends all the dispute and moves us forward," Picente says.

This is an agreement that does come with some dissent. Some believe the agreement breaks century old treaties.

Madison County also received $11 million on Tuesday in the agreement. And other than relieving the burden on tax payers, Picente says he wants to work on the infrastructure in Oneida County and of course save some money for a rainy or snowy day, in our case.

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