Arizona lawmakers weigh giving Navajo, Hopi their own county to reap tax revenue

Arizona lawmakers are considering a measure that would look at giving the Navajo and Hopi reservations their own county so they can reap the state's tax revenue. 

According to The Arizona Republic, lawmakers have resurrected a decades-old plan to find a way to let the tribes share in some of the state's tax dollars, even though they are largely exempt from many state taxes. 

The argument is that Arizona nevertheless brings in roughly $16 million annually in sales tax from non-Navajo residents spending money on the reservation, according to the newspaper. Roughly $120,000 comes from the Hopi Reservation in that fashion. 

Though previous efforts have failed, the new bill would create a committee to look at setting up a new county covering both those reservations. 

"They collect taxes on the reservation, so they should be allowed to participate in revenue sharing," Sen. Chester Crandell told The Arizona Republic. 

The bill passed a Senate committee and now goes to the full Senate.