TAHLEQUAH, OK – The Cherokee Nation has passed a $3.8 billion budget, the largest comprehensive budget in the tribe’s history. The Council of the Cherokee Nation approved the fiscal year 2024 general operating budget of nearly $3.034 billion and a capital investment budget of more than $753 million during a recent council meeting.
The budget includes $24.8 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Interior to provide a blanket of protection after the historic McGirt ruling. This year, the Marshal Service’s budget is $47 million; Attorney General $8.4 million; and tribal courts budget $14 million, for a total of $69.4 million in spending for the Cherokee Nation criminal justice system.
The FY 2024 comprehensive budget also provides spending $49.6 million on Public Health and Wellness Fund Act initiatives and $30 million of the $40 million multi-year Verna D. Thompson Early Education Act legislation is dedicated to expanding or renovating head start centers.
“This budget paves the way to ensure our Cherokee citizens continue to be safe and healthy, while providing more services and opportunities,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Whether its language, education or community improvements, we are continuing on a path of progress. This isn’t just a historic budget, but also an era with a record number of infrastructure projects on the ground as we build new homes, wellness centers, a hospital, addiction treatment center and head start centers across the Cherokee Nation reservation to keep moving our tribe and people forward.”
The Cherokee Nation budget anticipates 6,200 tribal government employees and many of the new hires will help maintain public safety, as well as hiring more positions in public health and health services.
“Chief Hoskin and I understand the responsibility the Cherokee Nation has ensuring our programs are staffed for the vital services we offer,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “Many of these positions will address our expanded criminal jurisdiction here on the Cherokee Nation reservation and continue our important work in addressing drug addiction and mental health challenges that will bring healing to Cherokee families and communities. We will remain committed to our historic efforts on housing, language, career readiness and so much more.”
Treasurer Janees Taylor first presented the FY 2024 budget to the Council on Sept. 5 during the Executive & Finance Committee, where it passed unanimously.
“The fiscal year 2024 budget is another record-setting budget for the Cherokee people,” said Taylor. “Along with Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner’s proposals of safety and wellness, this budget also provides the many important services needed for our Cherokee people. These investments will make an impact not only for the next year but many years to come.”
Included in the FY 2024 capital investment budget is $122 million for roads and bridges, nearly $400 million for the new W.W. Hastings Hospital and $158 million for other health facility and equipment spending.
“This is another example of the positive outcomes that occur when our Council works together with our administration, Treasurer, and Cherokee Nation Businesses, it results in the passage of the largest budget in the history of the Cherokee Nation,” said Council Speaker Mike Shambaugh. “This budget will give us the ability to keep moving the needle forward.”