Yakama Nation sued over tobacco tax compact

A business owner has sued the Yakama Nation of Washington in tribal court over a tobacco tax compact with the state.

Kip Richard Ramsey, the part owner of a tobacco manufacturing and sales company, says the compact violates the Yakama Treaty of 1855. He cited a recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that said the state can't interfere with tribal commerce.

"Now, why all of a sudden are we getting involved with the state of Washington about creating a tax on tribal cigarettes when it's not required by the federal government?" Ramsey told The Yakima Herald-Republic.

Ramsey wants the tribal court to bar the tribe from implementing the compact. The agreement requires the tribe to slowly raise its tobacco tax to a rate comparable, but lower, to the state's rate.

Ramsey was the defendant in another successful state tax challenge, though he lost a federal tax case a few years back.

Get the Story:
Tobacco tax issue smolders (The Yakima Herald-Republic 1/17)

Treaty Decision:
US v. Smiskin (May 18, 2007)

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Court: Tribal members must pay federal tax (9/12)