Piliero Mazza & Pargament, PLLC Vol. 5, Issue 6 June 2003
Addressing Tribal and Alaska Native Corporation
Legal and Business Issues
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A R T I C L E S
SBA Releases a Proposed Rule on Annual Recertification for Small Businesses
On April 25, 2003, the U.S. Small Business Administration proposed a rule that would require small businesses performing certain types of government contracts to recertify their size and small business status on an annual basis. Specifically, the proposed amendment to the SBA’s regulations would affect contractors for the purposes of General Service Administration’s (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program, including the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) and other multiple award contracts, including Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) and multi-agency contracts. Additionally, the proposed regulation also amends the 8(a) regulations to address when an 8(a) firm may receive orders under the GSA’s MAS Program, including the FSS and other multiple award contracts.
According to SBA, the change is being proposed to address the situation where task orders under such contracts are issued to firms that have outgrown the size standard under which the contracts were originally awarded to them as small businesses. The proposed rule would prohibit agencies from claiming credit for awards to small businesses when task orders are issued to a firm that no longer qualifies under the size standards as a small business.
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Untangling Tribal Tax-Exempt Bonds
On March 25, 2003, Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced H. R. 1421, a bill that would liberalize some of the current restrictions on the issuance of tribal tax-exempt bonds. Generally, the “Tribal Government Tax-Exempt Bond Fairness Act of 2003” would create an opportunity for tribes to finance private activities, such as golf courses and other non-governmental establishments, on Indian lands.
Currently, tribes may issue tax-exempt bonds only to finance “essential governmental functions” and construction related to manufacturing facilities on Indian lands held in trust by the federal government. The tribes must either register the bonds as securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or qualify the sale of such bonds under an exemption to the registration requirement of the securities laws, such as through a private placement to institutional investors.
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On the Road to Success
Recently, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History was the setting for a special gathering of indigenous people intent on exploring the future of self-determination. The event, held on May 13 and 14, 2003, was cosponsored by several organizations, including the Alaska Federation of Natives, Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Gaming Association, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The theme of the forum was “Strengthening U.S. Democracy: The Future of Self-Determination.”
The Tribal Advocate’s Tony Franco attended several of the forum sessions and heard how tribes and ANCs are gaining footholds in the marketplace. During a panel discussion, “A Review of Economic Development Best Practice,” a particularly inspiring story was presented by Dennis Metrokin, CEO of Koniag, Inc, an ANC of the Alutiiq people. The story focused on Karluk Wilderness Adventures, a young tour guide company that became a reality through the determination and vision of Koniag, the Alutiiq people and the cooperative efforts of governmental agencies and native villages.
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RULES AND REGULATIONS
Benchmark Compensation Revised
On May 2, 2003, the Office of Management and Budget published in the Federal Register a revision to Section 808 of Public Law 105-85, that increases the maximum allowable amount of executive compensation that can be expensed when performing government contracts. This amount, referred to as the "benchmark amount," is now set at $405,273 and is in effect for contracts issued in contractor fiscal year 2003 and for future contracts until revised by OMB. This is an increase of $17,490, or approximately 4.5 percent over the FY 2002 benchmark.
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