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Navajo Nation erases $22M budget deficit

The Navajo Nation has erased what once was a more than $22 million budget deficit.

Tribal Council Budget and Finance Chairman LoRenzo Bates says tribal officials had expected to make up the deficit later this year. But he says unanticipated revenue made that possible even earlier.

Bates says the tribe recently received a $50 million settlement payment from a coal company that mines on the reservation. The tribe had sued Peabody Energy, contending it conspired with others to cheat the tribe out of hundreds of millions of dollars in coal royalties.

Bates says the tribe’s rainy-day fund now stands at $32 million.

Tribal law requires the fund maintain a balance of 10 percent of the previous year’s budget, which is $16 million. Anything over that is available to spend.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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