Statement on Signing a Bill Permitting Tribe Members To Develop the Hopi Industrial Park.
THE ECONOMIC advancement and general welfare of the Hopi Tribe of the State of Arizona will be significantly enhanced by the legislation which I am signing today.
The Hopi Indians face very serious economic difficulties. The unemployment rate on the reservation reaches 49 percent. The average per capita income in 1968 was $520, both earned and unearned. This places the Hopi's personal income in the bottom quarter of Indian tribes and stands in contrast to a national per capita average income of $3,421 in 1968. Ninety-five percent of the housing on the reservation is substandard. Fifty-five percent of the reservation population has less than 8 years of education.
The purpose of H.R. 4869 is to permit members of the Hopi Tribe to develop the Hopi Industrial Park and thus broaden their economic base. The Park is an excellent example of tribal self-help development programs that create income sources and at the same time provide jobs for unemployed members of the tribe. It is a vitally important undertaking for the Hopis, and I warmly endorse their project.
One part of the act, however, does cause me some concern. That is the provision which authorizes the Hopi Tribal Council, with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior or his representative, to issue bonds which would be treated as if they were issued by the State of Arizona or one of its political subdivisions. This means that the interest paid on such bonds will be exempt from Federal income taxes. This administration has opposed extension of the tax-exempt financing privilege beyond the scope of present law. We believe that the tax exemption privilege is an inefficient and wasteful means of providing financial assistance and wherever possible have proposed the substitution of taxable financing for tax-exempt financing.
In the case of the Hopi Tribe, the passage of this act will enable them to move ahead with their development plan and I approve it for this reason. At the same time, however, the administration is actively exploring other methods of providing economic developmental assistance to Indian tribes that may be more beneficial and effective than the steps approved today.
Note: As enacted, H.R. 4869 is Public Law 91-264 (84 Stat. 260).
Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing a Bill Permitting Tribe Members To Develop the Hopi Industrial Park. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/239755