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
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...
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:
Obama administration asks tribes about infrastructure projects (9/23)
House passes measure to combat illegal sale of tribal property (9/23)
Mike Rounds: Righting historical wrongs against Native citizens (9/23)
Indian Health Service names new medical officer in Great Plains (9/23)
Interior Department finalizes rule for Native Hawaiian relations (9/23)
Native Sun News Today: Democrat accepts invitation to debate (9/23)
Jeffrey Whalen: A failed experiment in socialism at Pine Ridge (9/23)
Mary Annette Pember: A young boy's journey to Standing Rock (9/23)
Harlan McKosato: Obama must keep promise to Indian people (9/23)
Dean Suagee: Native input needed to guide future of our parks (9/23)
Another North Dakota tribe battles pipeline company in court (9/23)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe extends Class III gaming compact again (9/23)
Top gaming executive on Navajo Nation put on leave with pay (9/23)
Bill slammed as 'modern day Indian land grab' moves forward (9/22)
Republican lawmaker eagerly defends Dakota Access Pipeline (9/22)
Appeals court in DC sets stage for October 5 #NoDAPL hearing (9/22)
Bureau of Indian Affairs role in #NoDAPL 'task force' in doubt (9/22)
Miami language champion Daryl Baldwin earns 'genius grant' (9/22)
Landowners from Lower Brule Sioux Tribe see $11M in offers (9/22)
Mark Trahant: Politicians can no longer ignore the Native vote (9/22)
Native Sun News Today: Nation rallies to #NoDAPL movement (9/22)
Dave Archambault Sr.: History unfolds on Standing Rock land (9/22)
David Ganje: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe takes stand for water (9/22)
Democracy Now: Sacred Stone Camp founder standing ground (9/22)
Cronkite News: Navajo Nation pushes for cleanup of mine site (9/22)
Harold Monteau: #NoDAPL movement draws a line in the sand (9/22)
Judge restores affidavit option for North Dakota Native voters (9/22)
Editorial: Long overdue federal recognition for Virginia tribes (9/22)
Tohono O'odham Nation seeks sanctions in fight over casino (9/22)
California governor keeps busy with tribal gaming compacts (9/22)
County sheriff leads investigation into #NoDAPL confrontation (9/21)
Federal appeals court sets October 5 hearing in #NoDAPL case (9/21)
Tribes deliver Wisconsin firewood to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (9/21)
Democrats host forum on Dakota Access Pipeline on Capitol Hill (9/21)
Uncertainty on land-into-trust as Obama era comes to a close (9/21)
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.