indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Choctaw Nation Trial:
Choctaw Nation releases statement after guilty verdict in case (11/21)
Former Choctaw Nation employee found guilty after lengthy trial (11/21)
Trial on Choctaw Nation fraud winds down with final testimony (11/21)
Leader of Choctaw Nation faces tough questions in fraud trial (11/21)
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux youth to join White House meet (11/21)
Obamas welcome youth from Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to DC (11/21)
House passes bill to address Grand Portage Band per capitas (11/21)
House Natural Resources Committee passes three tribal bills (11/21)
Chaske Spencer: Changing the narrative for our Native youth (11/21)
Winona LaDuke: No one believes in the 'black snake' pipeline (11/21)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tax disparities remain in Indian Country (11/21)
ICT interview with DOI deputy secretary on Cobell buy-backs (11/21)
Oglala Sioux Tribe rounds up dogs after deadly attack on girl (11/21)
Leader of Navajo Nation signs bill for higher tax on junk food (11/21)
North Dakota tribe in negotiations for pipeline to curb flaring (11/21)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe passes language to new generation (11/21)
Little Traverse Bay Bands swear in interim leader after recall (11/21)
Blog: Play-by-play of election controversy on Navajo Nation (11/21)
Column: Theories link Thanksgiving to 1637 Pequot massacre (11/21)
Editorial: Work with Burns Paiute Tribe on land-into-trust bid (11/21)
Ex-employee of Passamaquoddy Tribe admits to drug charge (11/21)
BIA publishes notice of Karuk Tribe Class III gaming compact (11/21)
Oklahoma reports drop in gaming exclusivity fees from tribes (11/21)
Pala Band gears up for official launch of Internet gaming site (11/21)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux woman shot and killed by police (11/20)
Mark Trahant: Lakota honor song wasn't out of place in Senate (11/20)
Dog attack blamed for death of eight-year-old girl at Pine Ridge (11/20)
DOI issues status report on Cobell land consolidation program (11/20)
Greg Grey Cloud explains Lakota honor song after Senate vote (11/20)
Steven Newcomb: Disestablishing the doctrines of domination (11/20)
Sen. Mark Begich: Moving forward for the first people of Alaska (11/20)
Bill Richardson: Indian Country feels effects of climate change (11/20)
Smithsonian: Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 won't be forgotten (11/20)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe sues South Dakota over sales tax (11/20)
Morongo Band distributes 10K turkeys for Thanksgiving meals (11/20)
GAO report looks at tribal implementation of Adam Walsh Act (11/20)
FBI opens background check database to tribal law agencies (11/20)
Survey shows most Americans wouldn't use R-word in person (11/20)
USDA Blog: Youth from Angoon Tribe carry on their traditions (11/20)
Editorial: County and critics must stop fighting Chumash Tribe (11/20)
Editorial: Oklahoma Indian museum benefits the entire state (11/20)
Muscogee Nation finally starts work on $365M gaming project (11/20)
Two tribes making push for off-reservation casino in California (11/20)
Mashantucket Tribe hires new executive for gaming operation (11/20)
Opinion: Catawba Nation makes a sneak attack with casino bid (11/20)
Opinion: Poarch Creek gaming deal won't help state's economy (11/20)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne activists push for change (11/19)
Mark Trahant: Historic election in Alaska with Native candidate (11/19)
Audio: Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on child trauma (11/19)
Republicans hold up action on Alaska tribal jurisdiction measure (11/19)
DOI official to give update on Cobell land consolidation program (11/19)
Center for Native American Youth hosts panel discussion in DC (11/19)
Sen. Heitkamp to host panel on child trauma in Indian Country (11/19)
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.