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
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Tribes left out of Internet and cigarette tax bills
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Two pieces of tax legislation making their way through the U.S. Congress would destroy Indian sovereignty, tribal leaders warned on Tuesday.

A meeting at the 60th annual National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) convention focused on the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act and the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Act. Participants said the bills would overturn hundreds of years of Supreme Court precedent and undermine their rights by unilaterally imposing taxation systems on Indian Country.

"It is a challenge to our sovereignty," said Arlen Melendez, chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in Nevada.

PACT, introduced in the Senate as S.1177, would allow states to impose taxes on the sale of cigarettes online. It is backed by the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee as a way to recover millions of dollars in "lost" revenue.

But tribal leaders said it would abrogate tribal sovereign immunity. Provisions in the bill allow state governments to bring lawsuits in federal court against retailers -- including Indian businesses -- that don't collect the sales tax. The language toughens civil fines and criminal penalties for alleged violators.

"It's scary for one reason," said Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Tribe of Washington. "For the first time in 200 years, it will make tribes subject to state enforcement."

Joe Brooks, chief of the Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma and an owner of a smokeshop, said imposition of the state sales tax would wreck Indian businesses. "It's merely a ploy to put Indian Country out of business," he told meeting participants. It's a direct stab on Indian Country."

The Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Act, introduced in the Senate as S.1736 and the House as H.R.3184, would set up a uniform system to handle taxation of goods sold online. State governments are pushing the bill because they say they are losing out on billions due to e-commerce.

"They haven't even thought of tribes," said John Dossett, NCAI's general counsel. A reservation resident who buys something online would have to pay tax to the state, he said. The tribe should be given a right to those revenues, he said.

"The state and federal government will implement a system that cuts out tribes, possibly for the next 100 years," he told meeting participants.

Eric Lindbloom, a representative of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, drew negative reactions from the packed meeting room for supporting the goals of the PACT Act. From a public health standpoint, imposing higher taxes on cigarettes is beneficial because it keeps Indian kids from smoking, he said.

"Is the answer to that taxation, taxation, taxation?" Brooks responded. "No."

Lindbloom acknowledged that tribes haven't been considered by the drafters of the legislation, which include the Republican and Democrat leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "We want a bill to pass," he said.

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), with the support of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), have placed a hold on PACT pending resolution of tribal issues, he added. There has been little public debate on the bill.

"We need to have a hearing on this bill," said Cladoosby. "Indian Country needs to be heard."

Get the Bills:
PACT Act (S.1177) | Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Act (S.1736)

Relevant Links:
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids - http://www.tobaccofreekids.org
Streamlined Sales Tax Project - http://www.streamlinedsalestax.org

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: Website tracks missing and murdered women (7/30)
Native Sun News: AmeriCorps expands efforts in Indian Country (7/30)
House Natural Resources Committee markup on four tribal bills (7/30)
Mark Begich: A permanent fix for tribal contract support costs (7/30)
Paul Moorehead: Let's get back to promoting self-government (7/30)
Rep. Markwayne Mullin named one of 50 Most Beautiful on Hill (7/30)
Great Plains tribes hold conference to safeguard water rights (7/30)
Editorial: Muscogee Nation paves the way for college's future (7/30)
NPR: Relying on social media to keep Native languages alive (7/30)
Opinion: EPA exploits tribes by recognizing their sovereignty (7/30)
BIA won't commit to timeline on Mashpee Wampanoag casino (7/30)
Employees at Graton Rancheria casino to negotiate labor deal (7/30)
Tohono O'odham Nation blasts bill to bar off-reservation casino (7/30)
Opposition group sues to block gaming referendum in Nebraska (7/30)
Native Sun News: Native nations unite on uranium mine cleanup (7/29)
Audio from House subcommittee hearing on five tribal measures (7/29)
House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs hearing (7/29)
Witness List: SCIA hearing on natural disasters in Indian Country (7/29)
Gyasi Ross: Tribes put principle over profit in banning Ted Nugent (7/29)
Steven Newcomb: UN perpetuates dominance of Native peoples (7/29)
Megan Red Shirt-Shaw: Music festival outlaws faux headdresses (7/29)
BIA holds final in-person meeting on federal recognition reform (7/29)
'Caucasians' t-shirt sees boost in popularity thanks to Native DJ (7/29)
WyoFile: Tribes depend on Medicaid funding for health services (7/29)
Another member of Miccosukee Tribe killed in fatal car accident (7/29)
Former employee sentenced for theft from Chippewa Cree Tribe (7/29)
Editorial: Washington team's 'racial slur' has no place in society (7/29)
Review: 'Unreal City' exploits coal from Hopi and Navajo tribes (7/29)
Senate bill introduced to kill Tohono O'odham Nation casino bid (7/29)
Mohegan Tribe reports declines in gaming revenues and profits (7/29)
Muscogee Nation adds steakhouse to $335M casino expansion (7/29)
Editorial: Proposed Pojoaque Pueblo compact hurts New Mexico (7/29)
Tim Giago: Lakota and Pueblo Indians on Pine Ridge Reservation (7/28)
Native Sun News: President of Oglala Sioux Tribe dodges bullets (7/28)
Puyallup fashion designer competes for prize in Project Runway (7/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets business meeting on bills (7/28)
NIEA heads to Capitol Hill to advocate for Native language bills (7/28)
Obama signs Pascua Yaqui and Hoonah Indian Association bills (7/28)
Ho-Chunk Inc executive Lance Morgan receives business honor (7/28)
Charles Roessel: BIE reform plan includes teacher certification (7/28)
Troy Eid: Marijuana experiment in Colorado hurts Indian youth (7/28)
BIA hosts scoping meeting on Paiute Tribe land-into-trust bid (7/28)
Cherokee Nation program keeps former inmates out of prison (7/28)
Grand Ronde Tribes disenroll 86 descendants of treaty signer (7/28)
Protest targets disenrollments within Saginaw Chippewa Tribe (7/28)
At least 10 tribes adopt laws to recognize same-sex mariages (7/28)
KUOW: Coeur d'Alene Tribe cleans meth houses with EPA funds (7/28)
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.