Proposed 2017 operating budget for Navajo Nation government

The Navajo Nation Council convened their annual budget session on Tuesday to deliberate on the  proposed 2017 operating budget for the Navajo Nation government. (Click on blue words to access copy of proposed 2017 budget)

The proposed 2017 budget for the legislative branch totals to about $15.3 million, while the proposed 2017 budget for the executive office, which includes the Office of the President and Vice President, amounts to about $9.6 million.

According to a copy of Legislation 0270-16, which is the proposed 2017 budget for the executive offices, the Office of the President and Vice President is slated to receive $4 million of the $9.6 million budget for the executive offices.

Legislation 0245-16, which is the legislative branch budget, shows the Office of the Speaker with a budget of about $2.2 million. The Council’s share is more than $2 million.

The $9.6 million budget for the executive offices includes the Navajo Nation Washington Office ($1.1 million); the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Office ($538,000); Office of Hearings and Appeals ($324,000); Office of Miss Navajo ($169,000); Telecommunications Regulatory Commission ($282,000); Executive Protection Services ($419,000); Office of the Public Defender ($1.3 million), and the Department of Veterans Administration ($1.5 million).

The proposed budgets for the eight offices are rounded off.

The proposed budget of $15.3 million for the legislative branch includes the Council, the Council’s five standing committees, seven commissions, six offices, two boards and one program.

In June, at the start of the annual budget process, the Budget and Finance Committee unanimously approved $173.5 million for the proposed 2017 operating budget, which is the Nation’s share of its proposed 2017 budget.

The Nation’s comprehensive operating budget includes funds from the federal and state governments and other entities.

The 2017 budget year begins on Oct. 1 and ends on Sept. 30, 2017.

The Budget and Finance Committee’s approval of the $173.5 million was based on a June 21 agreement from the Nation’s three branch chiefs, President Russell Begaye, Speaker LoRenzo Bates and Acting Chief Justice Allen Sloan.

The agreement of the three branch chiefs was a recommendation to the B&F Committee on how the $173.5 million would be divided among the three branches, the 110 chapters, and other costs for budget planning purposes.

The branch chiefs recommended:

–        $102.9 million for the Executive Branch

–        $14.1 million for the Legislative Branch

–        $13.1 million for the Judicial Branch

–        $3.8 million for chapters’ infrastructure and capital improvement projects

–        $11.8 million for non-administrative costs for chapters

–        $20.2 million in fixed costs

–        $7.6 million in external cash match funds.

The Navajo Nation Office of the Controller identified $153.4 million in projected tribal revenues for the Nation’s proposed 2017 budget. Last year, the controller’s office identified $163.4 in tribal revenues for the 2016 budget.

According to the branch chiefs’ agreement, “The difference between the FY2017 general fund revenue projections of $153,433,000 and the budget allocation of $174,494,000 will be made up from Permanent Fund interest revenues.

“The general fund revenue projection is $153,433,000 and $22,946,000 from the Permanent Fund interest income totals $17,379,000,” the branch chiefs stated. “The budget is proposed as $173,494,000 so the remaining $2,885,000 is to be held in contingency account for the FY2018, due to general fund and Permanent Trust Fund income is projected to decrease and, therefore, additional funds will be needed.”

According to a June 14 written report from the controller’s office, the projected tribal revenues for 2018 budget is about $141.2 million and the projected revenues for the 2019 budget remains the same at about $141.2 million.

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