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: Oglala Sioux Tribe battles uranium mine (4/18)
Clara Caufield: BIA audits Northern Cheyenne police force (4/18)
10th Circuit affirms conviction for murder of Arapaho man (4/18)
Jay Daniels: Cobell settlement was flawed from beginning (4/18)
Dwanna Robertson: Muscogee Nation returns to homeland (4/18)
Peter d'Errico: Washington team makes colonial invasion (4/18)
Northern Arapaho Tribe receives $157M trust settlement (4/18)
Agua Caliente Band leaseholders seek $7M in tax refunds (4/18)
Oneida Nation sends $11M to county as part of settlement (4/18)
JPR: Klamath Tribes want Congress to approve water deal (4/18)
Judge dismisses Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe election suit (4/18)
ASU News: Navajo students enjoy learning their language (4/18)
Former NFL player jailed for DUI on Salt River Reservation (4/18)
BIA advances off-reservation casino projects in California (4/18)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe reportedly operating casino at net loss (4/18)
Cherokee Nation to break ground on new hotel with casino (4/18)
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes not planing to offer poker games (4/18)
Arizona tribes close to $1B mark in gaming revenue sharing (4/18)
Group opposes Catawba Nation casino bid in North Carolina (4/18)
Native Sun News: Guilty verdict in death of Lower Brule boy (4/17)
Native Sun News: Paper brings home four first place awards (4/17)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Governor carries on divisive tactics (4/17)
Navajo president criticizes NIGA for withdrawing from event (4/17)
Crystal Willcuts: NFL trickster speaks with a crooked tongue (4/17)
Opinion: NFL team owner flashes money to defend racial slur (4/17)
Ten reservations account for biggest share of Cobell buyback (4/17)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe opposes megaloads through reservation (4/17)
Indian artists seek more control over popular annual market (4/17)
Panel to look into death of pregnant Indian woman in Mexico (4/17)
Lynn Valbuena returns to chairman post at San Manuel Band (4/17)
Yale University museum accused of stealing Tlingit artifacts (4/17)
Navajo Nation Council speaker still on leave amid court fight (4/17)
BIA asked to invalidate Shinnecock Nation's new constitution (4/17)
Onondaga Nation is negotiations over tobacco taxation issue (4/17)
Sen. Warren addresses Native American controversy in book (4/17)
Race relations council looking to boost efforts in border town (4/17)
Opinion: Federal recognition for Virginia tribes long overdue (4/17)
Opinion: University must eventually eliminate Ute nickname (4/17)
Appeals court in Canada rules for Metis in Indian status caes (4/17)
9th Circuit hears dispute over Redding Rancheria gaming site (4/17)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe set to launch new poker games on May 2 (4/17)
Judge hears arguments in lawsuit against Jamul Band casino (4/17)
Opinion: Poarch Creeks qualify for Class III gaming in Florida (4/17)
Opinion: Gaming interests prepare for next attack on Florida (4/17)
Native Sun News: Little Shell Tribe gets closer to recognition (4/16)
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge fighter prepares for next match (4/16)
Letter from Cobell attorneys on second settlement payment (4/16)
Cobell settlement administrator responds to payment delay (4/16)
Secretary Jewell to deliver commencement address at SIPI (4/16)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | 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.