Opinion

John Kane: New York governor keeps secret tribal tobacco rules





John Kane says New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) won't disclose its tobacco taxation policy despite requests for information dating back years:
Three years ago a couple of “Let’s Talk Native…” regulars and I made the trip to Albany to try to get some straight answers to a couple of simple questions. Matt Hill, Paul Delaronde and I met with New York State Senator George Maziarz, Republican from the 62nd Senate District of New York, to see if a State Senator could get an answer to a question that the State’s tax department refused to give us. We sat with the Senator and first queried him on his position on Native-to-Native trade and the State’s authority over our commerce and our manufactured goods.

Senator Maziarz made it very clear where he stood on the issues. Despite legislation that the State legislature had recently passed that was to shut down State-licensed wholesalers from continuing a 30- year practice of selling unstamped (untaxed) cigarettes to Native retailers, he felt strongly that the State had no authority to interfere with Native-to-Native trade and he was in full support of the trade we had established with Native-manufactured product.

The problem that we encountered was that we could not get a straight answer out of the Governor’s office, the State Attorney General’s Office or out of the State’s Department of Taxation and Finance clarifying the State’s legal, political or regulatory policy on Native-to-Native trade or on Native- manufactured goods. They flat out refused to tell us.

Get the Story:
John Kane: The Unwritten Rules of the Cuomo Cabal (The Two Row Times 4/8)