Editorial: Tax tobacco sales on reservations

"Gov. Eliot Spitzer should waste no more time and begin collecting the tax on the sale of tobacco to non-Indians by Native American enterprises.

Enforcement of the law is long overdue.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that New York state could collect taxes on tobacco and gasoline sold by Native Americans to non-Indians. But past governors haven't had the courage to do it. Mario Cuomo, defeated by George Pataki in 1994, didn't even try. In 1997, the state prepared to collect the tax, but backed off after clashes erupted between state police and members of the Seneca Nation, who protested by blocking a portion of the Thruway in western New York. The state prepared again to collect the tax in 2003, but Pataki delayed it to 'seek more public input.'

In 2005, state legislators included a provision in the budget to begin collecting the tax in March 2006. Pataki agreed, but later reneged, saying he wanted to delay it another year. Since he didn't plan to seek re-election, that laid the problem on his successor.

Last week, Spitzer told the Buffalo News that he intended to move ahead — a week after state Supreme Court Justice Rose Sconiers issued an injunction barring the collection of the tax on the grounds that the state had no mechanism in place to do it. According to the News, the 2005 law called for the distribution of special coupons to allow Indians to continue buying the products tax-free for their personal consumption. Since those coupons have not been issued or distributed, Sconiers argued, the law 'is not in effect' and cannot be enforced by the state."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Governor, collect tax on tobacco (The Utica Observer Dispatch 1/23)

Related Stories:
George-Kanentiio: New York governor can mend rift (1/22)
Column: Tribal issues face new New York governor (12/18)
Five-hour meeting on Oneida Nation land-into-trust (12/15)
Counties offer Oneida land-into-trust proposal (12/14)
Onondaga Nation might get into cigarette business (12/13)
Two New York tribes depend on brisk cigarette sales (11/06)
New York tribes cite sovereignty in tax suit (10/11)
New York busts tobacco smuggling ring (08/11)
New York Indians gear up for tobacco tax fight (8/8)
Cayuga tribes fail to seek rehearing on land claim (06/14)
U.S. Supreme Court refuses to clarify tribal claims (05/16)
New York sued over Internet tobacco taxation (05/04)
New York governor sued over Indian taxes (5/3)
Washington tribes meet with state over taxes (5/1)
Osage Nation sues state over tobacco rules again (4/21)
Democrats, Republicans at odds over tobacco tax (03/21)
Editorial: If Indians won't pay tobacco tax, get rid of it (03/21)
Battle brewing over tobacco taxes in New York (3/20)
Seneca Nation criticizes tobacco shipment bill (03/13)
New York won't collect sales taxes on reservations (02/24)
Group pushes Pataki to collect reservation taxes (2/16)
Two Washington tribes reach deal on state gas tax (01/27)
Pataki to delay collection of cigarette taxes (01/19)
Tribes not worried about Supreme Court ruling (12/09)
Supreme Court upholds state tax on reservation fuel (12/07)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe won't enter tobacco deal (12/07)
Washington to use gas tax decision against tribes (12/07)
U.S. Supreme Court weighs tribal-state tax case (10/04)
Pataki shifts stance on reservation taxation (02/24)
Pataki cites sovereignty in veto of Indian tax bill (11/16)
Pataki expected to veto Indian tax legislation (11/12)
Convenience stores blame revenue loss on Indians (05/25)
Seneca Nation commissions study on state tax plan (05/12)
New York lawmakers press state taxation on tribes (04/28)
Pataki wants to delay Indian taxation indefinitely (02/11)
Top N.Y. lawmaker rejects call to delay Indian tax (01/29)
Pataki calls for delay in state taxation plan (01/22)
Poll shows N.Y. residents oppose state tax plan (12/09)
N.Y. delays implementation of Indian tax rules (11/10)
Seneca Nation leaders lobby against tax effort (11/7)
Seneca Nation plans lawsuit over state tax plan (11/6)
Seneca Nation launches ad campaign against taxes (10/28)
Oneida Nation near deal with state on taxation (10/23)
Mohawk Tribe protesting state's taxation plan (09/18)
N.Y. tribes opposing state plan to collect tax (9/16)
Advertisement
Tags
Trending in News
More Headlines