Business | Law

Seneca Nation will appeal latest decision in tobacco tax battle

The Seneca Nation vowed to appeal after a judge in New York ruled that the state can move forward with its tobacco tax in Indian Country.

The tribe wanted Judge Donna Siwek to throw out tobacco regulations written by the Department of Taxation and Finance. But she ruled that the state hadn't violated any laws.

"No one should underestimate the Nation's resolve to defend and protect its sovereign rights. Immunity from taxes by federal treaty is the law of the land," President Robert Odawi Porter said in a press release. "Our people survived state encroachment before and triumphed for centuries as an independent and successful people. That will not change now."

The state now requires wholesalers who do business with tribes to pay the tobacco tax up front. Some exemptions are allowed for sales to tribal members but the state gets to determine the rate.

Get the Story:
Court says state can collect cigarette tax on American Indian reservations (Politics on the Hudson 6/8)
Judge Rules in Favor of NYS in Cigarette Case Against the Seneca Nation (AP / WGRZ 6/8)
Order banning collection of cigarette taxes lifted (The Buffalo News 6/9)

New York State Court Decision:
Seneca Nation v. New York (June 8, 2011)

2nd Circuit Decision:
Oneida Nation v. Cuomo (May 9, 2011)

Related Stories:
Judge extends temporary order over New York's tobacco tax (6/2)
Editorial: Stop New York tribes from untaxed cigarettes (5/31)
Seneca Nation leader discusses tobacco tax at UN forum (5/27)
New York judge bars tobacco tax on sales to Seneca Nation (5/10)
2nd Circuit lifts injunction in New York tribal tobacco tax feud (5/9)

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