indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Appeals court won't let state tax tribal commerce
Friday, August 29, 2003

The state of Kansas on Thursday lost another round in its attempt to tax inter-tribal commerce.

In a unanimous decision, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction that prevents the state from collecting and imposing a gas tax on the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. The state claims the tribe owes $1.25 million for distributing gas to three Kansas tribes.

A federal judge last May halted the tax and state criminal proceedings against Winnebago chairman John Blackhawk and other tribal executives. The state appealed but a three-judge appeals court panel yesterday said the state failed to make its case.

"Characterizing the central question in the case as whether the state can tax the sale of fuel between the Winnebago Tribe and the Kansas tribes, the [lower] court determined that this issue was a matter of federal, not state, law," wrote Judge Stephanie K. Seymour for the majority.

The battle began in March 2002, when Kansas officials seized gas trucks and other property belonging to Ho-Chunk Inc. (HCI), the economic development arm of the Winnebago Tribe. The state then ordered Blackhawk and HCI chief executive Lance Morgan arrested on an inter-state warrant. Morgan's wife, Erin, who manages a tribal business, and another tribal employee were also charged.

Reacting to the latest victory, Morgan criticized the state for interfering in the affairs of sovereign tribal governments. "How many times does Kansas have to lose before they realize the tribes are governments that can't be pushed around at their whim?" Morgan told Indianz.Com. "This isn't 1888."

The Winnebago Tribe has been providing gas to the Kickapoo Tribe, the Sac and Fox Nation and the Iowa Tribe. The tribes say their agreement is free from state taxation. All four tribes are parties to the litigation.

In May 2002, U.S. District Judge Dale E. Saffels, who died last year, agreed with the tribes and barred the state from collecting the $1.25 million that is allegedly owed. Saffels also delayed criminal proceedings against Blackhawk, Morgan and the other executives pending resolution of the dispute.

The 10th Circuit upheld Saffels on all accounts, noting the irreparable harm that the tribes face. The state, Seymour wrote, "simply ignores the district court's consideration of evidence of loss of business, reputation, future viability, and access to credit, all of which interfered with the tribes' self-sufficiency and economic development."

The state has been going after tribes within its own borders on several fronts. In addition to seizing Winnebago property, the state arrested and jailed a non-Indian businessman who was supplying gas to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. The state has also been refusing to recognize license plates issued by the tribe.

The 10th Circuit earlier this month ruled against the state in the car tag case. But a federal judge has said the state can impose a gas tax on a business owned by the tribe.

Ho-Chunk Inc. owns Indianz.Com and its sister e-commerce site AllNative.Com.

Get the Decision:
Winnebago Tribe v. Kansas (August 28, 2003)

Relevant Links:
Winnebago Tribe - http://www.winnebagotribe.com
Ho-Chunk Inc. - http://www.hochunkinc.com

Related Stories:
Judge blocks state from interfering with tribe (08/08)
Kan. wins ruling in tribal gas tax dispute (01/29)
Appeals court to hear Winnebago tax case (1/27)
State appealing tribal gas ruling (09/02)
Winnebago Tribe welcomes gas tax decision (7/12)
State ordered to return tribal property (7/11)
Winnebago Tribe wants property back (5/21)
Court halts tax on tribe (5/18)
Winnebago leaders ordered arrested (4/12)
Fight expected over gas taxes (4/11)
Winnebago Tribe's gas trucks seized (4/10)
Kan. tribe wins round in car tag dispute (6/26)

Copyright 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Cobell beneficiaries still waiting on payment (7/24)
Navajo Nation president to discuss brutal murders with mayor (7/24)
NCAI President Cladoosby offers cedar hat to BIA's Washburn (7/24)
Woman waiting in line at SCIA hearing reportedly had bedbugs (7/24)
S.E. Ruckman: Tribal members share frustrations on IHS care (7/24)
Mark Rogers: System exploits misery of our nation's veterans (7/24)
Fort Belknap Tribes depend on revenue from Internet lending (7/24)
Oglala Sioux Tribe still working on plan for legal alcohol sales (7/24)
Two Native girls charged with assault for hockey game brawl (7/24)
Chickasaw Nation welcomes public to new community center (7/24)
Oregon tribe plans major development at historic village site (7/24)
Unsettled Ch. 26: Passamaquoddy dealings cloaked in secrecy (7/24)
KCAW: BLM supports Alaska Native corporation in land dispute (7/24)
Mixed martial arts fighter from Lumbee Tribe proud of heritage (7/24)
Granddaughter of former team owner condemns racist mascot (7/24)
Opinion: Chief Black Hawk was notorious leader of Ute people (7/24)
Remote tribes facing threats from drug trafficking and logging (7/24)
BIA indicates Tohono O'odham Nation can use land for gaming (7/24)
Pojoaque Pueblo wants to take state out of casino operations (7/24)
Iipay Nation started planning Internet poker games last year (7/24)
Fighter seriously injured at Trinidad Rancheria's casino event (7/24)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe concerned about potential gaming site (7/24)
Native Sun News: Great Plains tribes call for full contract funds (7/23)
Native Sun News: Candidate wants Obama to meet with tribes (7/23)
Audio: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on gaming (7/23)
President Obama nominates Jonodev Chaudhuri to lead NIGC (7/23)
Class III compact for Swinomish Tribe lowers legal age to 18 (7/23)
Navajo Nation officials seek meeting in response to murders (7/23)
Larry Spotted Crow Mann: Thank Indian veterans for America (7/23)
Fond du Lac Band tries to uncover cause of foodborne illness (7/23)
Man in Alabama honors Yuchi ancestor with unique memorial (7/23)
Shivwits Band sees early success with gas station and store (7/23)
Seminole Tribe launches marketing campaign for juice brand (7/23)
Mohegan Tribe breaks ground on first of 15 chain restaurants (7/23)
Water bottling plant provides usage reports to Morongo Band (7/23)
WBUR: Tribes rebury one of their ancient relatives in Montana (7/23)
KPLU: Quileute Tribe welcomes man who was rescued in 2010 (7/23)
Unsettled: Free speech costs dearly at Passamaquoddy Tribe (7/23)
MSU News: Online Native studies courses open to registration (7/23)
Opinion: Connecticut tribe deserves a 2nd shot at recognition (7/23)
Ernie Stevens joins American Gaming Association Hall of Fame (7/23)
Employees at Graton Rancheria casino vote to join labor union (7/23)
Sandia Pueblo undertakes first major casino expansion project (7/23)
Mohegan Tribe's poll points to preference for casino in Catskills (7/23)
Native Sun News: Lakota War Path team wins world relay title (7/22)
Raina Thiele: Native youth participate in My Brother's Keeper (7/22)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs looks into tribal gaming (7/22)
NIGC reports 'stable' growth in $28B tribal gaming industry (7/22)
Bail set at $5M for teens accused of murdering Navajo men (7/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.