Navajo president urges lawmakers to spend wisely

Window Rock, Arizona (AP) 10-08

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. says the tribe could be facing a financial crisis if it doesn’t spend its money wisely.

He’s urging tribal lawmakers to maintain a minimum balance in an emergency fund that the lawmakers usually tap for supplemental appropriations.

The emergency fund is supposed to hold at least 10 percent of the tribe’s budget from the previous year, or $16 million.

Tribal Controller Mark Grant drew a zero on a white board, indicating there’s no money in the fund. He says that won’t change until next month, after the end of the 2008 fiscal year.

Shirley says the unstable financial market means the tribe must plan for a revenue funding shortfall to provide services to the Navajo people.