indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Sovereignty and E-Commerce:  Innovating and Reshaping the  Borders of Indian Country - Arizona State University Third Annual Tribal Government E-Commerce CLE Conference
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...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News Today: Northern Cheyenne banker beats the odds (1/16)
James Giago Davies: The real power to defeat the Wasicu pipeline (1/16)
Tiffany Midge: Hollywood needs to stop stereotyping Native people (1/16)
Peter d'Errico: New book connects Native America with Palestine (1/16)
Alaska tribe makes history with approval of trust land application (1/13)
Mille Lacs Band divests from bank over Dakota Access financing (1/13)
Navajo Code Talkers participate in presidential inaugural parade (1/13)
Native Sun News Today: Uranium expansion by sacred site halted (1/13)
Clara Caufield: Commemorating the outbreak from Fort Robinson (1/13)
Terese Mailhot: Paying tribute to my brother & my protector Guy (1/13)
Steven Newcomb: It's been 130 years of taking indigenous lands (1/13)
Trump's Energy nominee vows to stay away from Dakota Access (1/12)
Native Sun News Today: Legal fight continues over Dakota Access (1/12)
Ivan Star Comes Out: We must speak Lakota to keep it from dying (1/12)
Bad River Band calls for removal of aging pipeline on reservation (1/12)
Bill requires tribal consent for Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site (1/12)
California county approves limits on marijuana near tribal lands (1/12)
North Dakota tribe threatens to walk away from energy tax deal (1/12)
American Bar Association honors prominent Indian law attorney (1/12)
Tribal opposition leads to delay on status of Yellowstone grizzly (1/12)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation security guard brought gun to casino (1/12)
Cowlitz Tribe hosts job far as opening date for casino approaches (1/12)
Trump's Justice choice leaves door open to fight tribal jurisdiction (1/11)
Native women join historic march in DC after Trump's inauguration (1/11)
Cobell scholarship fund grows to $47M thanks to buy-back effort (1/11)
Alaska Native village still seeking approval for 'life-saving road' (1/11)
Confirmation hearing delayed for Donald Trump's Education pick (1/11)
Native Sun News Today: Peltier prosecutor supports clemency bid (1/11)
Steven Newcomb: Our indigenous nations were never conquered (1/11)
Peter d'Errico: United States refuses to acknowledge its genocide (1/11)
Ex-chair of Cedarville Rancheria faces death sentence for murders (1/11)
Indian lawmaker in Oklahoma investigated for sexual harassment (1/11)
Nebraska county backs liquor licenses in reservation border town (1/11)
Agreement in allows Alaska tribe to prosecute low-level offenses (1/11)
FBI leads probe into Citizen Potawatomi Nation casino shooting (1/11)
Shawnee Tribe forced to look far away for off-reservation casino (1/11)
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.