'Threat assessment' sought in tribal tobacco fight
New York Gov. David Paterson (D) wants know whether imposing taxes on tribal tobacco sales will spark "violence and civil unrest," according to news reports.

In a letter to three U.S. Attorneys in New York, Paterson cited past incidents in which tribal members protested state taxation. He asked the prosecutors for a "threat assessment" and for help in dealing with potential "unrest."

"Furthermore, I would appreciate your operational commitment to help mitigate any disturbances that might occur in each of your districts if implementation were to occur," Paterson wrote on September 23, The Buffalo News reported.

The Seneca Nation was informed of the letter last month, the newspaper said. "We see the letter as nothing more than the governor doing his job to assess the historic consequences of what happens when the state tries to violate our treaty rights," Chairman Richard Nephew said.

"A strong reaction to further affronts on tribal sovereignty is inevitable," Mark Emery, a spokesman for the Oneida Nation, told the paper.

Get the Story:
'Threat assessment' sought in Indian tax dispute (The Buffalo News 10/21)
Governor Intends To Collect Tax On Non-Indians (The Jamestown Post-Journal 10/21)
Paterson worried about tribal unrest over cigarette tax (AP 10/20)

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