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PostSubject: NYS CIG TAX   Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:03 pm

Looks like NYS may start a war with NY tribes again over collection of taxes on Cigs sold to non-native americans. I have to wonder what part of "SOVEREIGN" NY dosent get! I love the smell of tires burning on the thruway . Wink

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PostSubject: 2010 Indian cigarette tax collection back on the table   Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:24 pm

http://www.observertoday.com/page/content.detail/id/534870.html


http://www.nysenate.gov/video/2010/feb/02/kruger-takes-dept-taxation-and-finance-commish-task-native-american-cigarette-tax-

Seneca Indians have been put on notice that the state will have rules and regulations in place to begin tax collections on sales made on their land in about six months. In turn, at least one Seneca is thinking about notice to the state about what could be done in the same six-month time period.

During his Tuesday budget presentation, state Gov. David Paterson said the state's Taxation and Finance Department will "withdraw its advisory opinion regarding forbearance" of the sales, meaning its staff will put in place a tax-exempt coupon system so Native Americans purchasing cigarettes can do so tax-free while others visiting tribal stores will pay the tax. The move is expected to satisfy an injunction issued previously by State Supreme Court Judge Rose Sconiers, who said the state could not collect the tax until such a system was put in place to allow Native Americans to remain exempt from the taxes.

"Local businesses need parity," said Paterson during the budget address portion relating to the tax collections. Currently tribes, including the Seneca Nation of Indians and its individual entrepreneurs, can sell cigarettes tax-free on their land, which has raised the ire of nearby businesses that charge an increasing tax on the same product.

Paterson called his plan "an opportunity to survive" for those neighboring businesses. He said the measure means "no disrespect to Indian Nations," but, rather, "equality of opportunity."

"Our businesses are suffering and closing," he said, adding there is "an unfair standard" regarding the tax-free status.

"No one can question Gov. Paterson's sincerity in wanting to resolve this long-standing dilemma. We applaud his commitment to fully and fairly enforcing the tax collection law, and our stores are eager to help New York State collect all the tax revenue it is entitled to," said James Calvin, executive director of the state Association of Convenience Stores, which has supported the tax collection. He said, however, the association has dealt with 15 years of delay of collections, leaving its members skeptical.

Calvin also questioned another Paterson initiative mentioned Tuesday, to increase state taxes on cigarette sales.

"It would be a mistake, however, to further increase the cigarette tax rate prior to the enforcement initiative, because it would only make the current tax-evasion epidemic worse. First things first - recapture the hundreds of millions of dollars in cigarette tax revenue that is escaping at the current rate, then examine whether any change in the rate is really necessary," he said.

Although Calvin questioned what will be done before the tax collections, Senecas have some ideas of their own.

The six-month time frame could give the Seneca Nation, along with individual merchants selling the cigarettes, time to mount their own opposition to the Paterson plan. Senecas have previously voiced concern that state attempts to collect the tax violate treaties the tribe has with the United States.

"It's no big surprise," said J.C. Seneca, chair of the nation's foreign relations committee. "Anytime the governor proposes a budget it seems to include revenues from taxation of our sales.

"Certainly in these times ... it's disheartening," he said, adding the state had two paths, one of dialogue and working together with the nation or one of conflict. He said dialogue that could have been productive, but positive was not the direction the state has chosen.

"The governor has failed to provide that," said Seneca. "So far he is taking the path of controversy," said Seneca, adding that needs to change. Therefore, he said, the nation has to do what it needs to survive. Seneca said the nation employs more than 6,000 people through smoke shops and gaming enterprises.

"That's a lot of families," he said, adding the nation will "look out for their best interests."

Although its next course of action must be determined by the nation's governing body - the Tribal Council - Seneca said maybe he should propose giving the state a similar six-month notice about whether it can continue to use Seneca territory such as is done for the New York State Thruway, which passes through Seneca land. There are other long-standing issues, he said, such as promises by the state the nation does not feel have been kept pertaining to Interstate 86 going through the land.

"They're initiating a law to destroy our economy," said Seneca, adding the nation has to hold the state to its agreements.

Seneca opposition to state tax collection attempts previously resulted in protests, which Seneca said happens when people feel backed into a corner. He said the nation is not backed into a corner yet, but, he said, there may be a time in the future when its people feel that way. Although he said the nation does not condone such behavior, he said it "won't be precipitated by Indian people," but, rather the state's refusal to recognize treaties and contributions of Senecas.

"They are the ones that would be responsible," he said about the state's officials.

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PostSubject: PACT ACT FEDERAL BAN ON CIGS THRU THE USPS   Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:19 pm

Little over two months before PACT Act starts. Watch the Reservations and your backs. Keep your eyes open and know where you are. If this goes ugly there is a high potential for collateral damage.

Bill was signed on March 31st and takes effect 90 days after.

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PostSubject: WAR?   Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:03 pm

The silence on this is more unnerving then seeing piles of tires. only a few signs " NO MAIL NO RAIL" and posters of a native americans face with war paint and one word "warriors". Lets hope this dosent turn into a mess.

June 29th is when the law takes effect.

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PostSubject: Re: NYS CIG TAX   Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:32 pm

NY plans $1.60 per pack cigarette tax increase
6/18/2010, 4:14 p.m. EDT
MICHAEL GORMLEY
The Associated Press

(AP) — ALBANY, N.Y. - New York plans a $1.60 increase per pack in the cigarette tax, making it the nation's highest, as well a long-delayed plan to crack down on the sale of cigarettes by tribes to non-Indians, according to a bill Gov. David Paterson's administration announced late Friday.

The plan also includes raising the tax on chewing tobacco, cigars, pipe tobacco and other tobacco products. The tax would increase to 75 percent of the wholesale price of those products, from 46 percent now.

New York state Budget Director Robert Megna said specifics are still being negotiated with legislative leaders and tribes in New York, but higher tobacco taxes will be part of an emergency spending bill Monday.



"Raising the tax, combined with the decision to collect the tax on Indian sales, together is probably the most important public health measure this state has taken in many years," said Russ Sciandra, director of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York, a coalition of health groups.

Peter Slocum of the American Cancer Society called the tax plan "one of the most important public health measures of our time."

But Paterson ventures into potentially dangerous territory in trying to tax sovereign tribes.

"This is an act of economic violence against the native people of what is now New York state," said Richard Nephew, chairman of the Seneca Nation's legislative council. "The state is built on the graves and land sacrifices of our people."

Couple this with the Pact Act taking effect on June 29th and we may have just seen the spark that lit this off.

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PostSubject: Re: NYS CIG TAX   Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:27 pm

Despite earlier reports, the extender bill does not include a $1.60 tax increase per pack of cigarettes.

Lawmakers are considering that separately.

earlier reports were correct and it did.

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PostSubject: "It's an act of war," J.C. Seneca   Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:03 pm

Latest extender jacks up tobacco prices
Updated: Monday, 21 Jun 2010, 10:27 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 21 Jun 2010, 10:27 PM EDT

Michele McClintick
Posted by: Eli George
ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) - New York State smokers will be sending millions more of their money up in smoke, now that lawmakers have passed the most expensive tobacco tax in America.

Sen. George Maziarz warned, "There will be a clash of cultures here in this state."

Sen. Maziarz is referring to a Native American backlash over a sales tax increase on cigarettes. The tax increase passed, despite the state's Republican senators all voting "no" to raising the sales tax. The plan also allows New York to collect tax on Indian reservations from non-tribal customers.

"You really wonder if this isn't just phony revenue. If they're putting this out there, knowing they're not going to collect it, just to get through the budget process," wondered Sen. Maziarz.

Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer said New Yorkers are already overburdened.

Sen. Ranzenhofer commented, "You're continuing to drive more and more people from this state."

The tax will be raised from $2.75 to $4.35, making a pack cost over $9. The tax on cigars pipe and chewing tobacco and other tobacco products will jump from 46 percent of the wholesale price, to 75 percent, all of this is expected to bring in around $440 million this year.

And while lawmakers continue to pass the entire budget, another extension was voted on, but the deadline came a bit too late for New York's Budget Division. Some of the 153,000 state workers due to be paid Wednesday now likely won't get paid until at least Thursday.

Lawmakers voted on just over a billion dollarsin savings Monday. This was the 12th time that lawmakers voted on a budget extension. Governor David Paterson has given the legislature a deadline of next Monday.


Let the games begin.



"It's an act of war," J.C. Seneca, a Seneca Nation councilor, told The Buffalo News. Seneca said Paterson has chosen a "path of controversy and confrontation, (and) if anything happens, it's on their hands."

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PostSubject: Re: NYS CIG TAX   Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:49 pm


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PostSubject: PACT Act Restraining Order Granted to Senecas   Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:46 am

PACT Act Restraining Order Granted to Senecas


BUFFALO, NY -- It's an initial victory for the Seneca Nation of Indians in their fight against the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking, or PACT Act that's meant to curb cigarette smuggling.

The corporation Red Earth, also know as Seneca Smokeshop, has been granted a temporary, 14 day restraining order that allows them to keep selling mail order cigarettes over the internet, which the PACT Act bans. The Senecas the PACT Act will kill 1,000 jobs in Western New York.

The plaintiffs successfully argued that the PACT Act would irreparably harm their business, and also that aspects of the PACT Act violate the U.S. Constitution.

Both sides involved in this dispute, the Senecas and the U.S. Government have been ordered to appear in Federal Court in Buffalo for a hearing on this matter on July 7, 2010.

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PostSubject: Seneca truck Seized   Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:20 am

Seneca truck carrying cigarettes seized by state

Eileen Buckley (2010-08-10)



William Parry, owner of Wolf's Run on Cattaraugus reservation

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
CATTARAUGUS, NY (WBFO) - A truck traveling between the Allegany and Cattaraugus Reservations of the Seneca Nation was stopped and seized by state tax officials Monday.
The truck was owned by Seneca businessman Aaron Pierce. He is part of a challenge to the PACT Act, a new federal law prohibiting the transport of tobacco products by U.S. mail.

Tax officials say the truck contained thousands of cartons of cigarettes that did not have New York tax stamps.

The Seneca's said the seizure is unconstitutional. They believe it was in retaliation for fighting the PACT Act.

Seneca Nation of Indians president Barry Snyder issued the following statement:

SENECA NATION OF INDIANS RESPONDS TO ILLEGAL SEIZURE OF STAMPED TOBACCO PRODUCTS

Statement by President Barry E. Snyder, Sr.

August 10, 2010 Cattaraugus Territory Seneca nation of Indians -- "The Seneca Nation of Indians has learned that the New York State Department of Tax and Finance has taken the unprecedented steps of stopping and seizing a vehicle containing cigarettes that were being delivered from one Seneca Nation Territory to another Seneca Nation Territory.

The seized product contained cigarettes that were legally stamped using the Nation's state-of-the-art tracking system under the Nation's comprehensive tobacco regulations. The product was being transported by a Nation-licensed business for delivery to retailers who are also licensed by the Nation.

The Nation does not take lightly this overt act of State aggression against the Nation and its people.

We will weigh all of our options and determine what steps to take to protect and preserve the sovereign rights of the Nation and the Seneca people," said Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder, Sr.

Meanwhile attorneys for reservation tobacco businesses appeared in a Buffalo federal courtroom Tuesday. Attorneys argued for a request a suspension of the federal law pending an appeal.

U.S. Judge Richard Arcara said he would issue a decision no later the end of the week.

Government attorneys and attorneys for the Seneca's and Red Earth argued before the judge for more than two hours Tuesday afternoon.

The Red Earth attorney said the PACT ACT would force the company out of business. The government argues sales of cigarettes through the mail have irrefutable harm to minors.

____________________________________________

How many times can you kick something before it BITES back.... NYS may find out soon.

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PostSubject: Tribes balking at NY cigarette-tax collection   Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:30 pm

Tribes balking at NY cigarette-tax collection
By Nick Reisman •Albany Bureau • August 20, 2010, 6:20 pm

- In less than two weeks, the state plans to collect revenue from cigarettes sold to non-tribal members on Indian reservations.

But as the Sept. 1 enforcement date approaches, the proposal is becoming an increasingly contentious one for Indian and New York officials.
Tribes from across the state are mobilizing an effort to stymie the plan, a long-sought revenue source for the state that is expected to generate about $150 million this fiscal year.
Read changes to the cigarette law tax.
Tribal officials say they are not backing down and are convinced the state won't follow through.
The Seneca Nation on Friday filed an injunction in federal court to delay the collection of cigarette-tax revenue on reservations. Earlier in the week, the tribe filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the state's plan.
"We had hoped to come to an understanding where the parties would have an orderly and agreed upon processing of the merits of our claims," said Barry Snyder, the president of the Seneca Nation in a statement. "Unfortunately, the Nation now finds itself in the position of needing emergency relief from the federal courts to keep the State from implementing this illegal tax scheme."
The flurry of legal activity came as the opposition to the state's plan to collect tax cigarette-tax revenue from the reservations is hardening among the tribes.
In what was called a "historic" meeting, members of the Iroquois Confederacy gathered in Rochester on Wednesday to express their disapproval with the state's plan.
The confederacy is made up of the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora tribes.
"This was kind of unusual for them to come together," said Sharon Linstedt, a spokeswoman for the Seneca Nation. "But this seemed to be a unifying umbrella issue for them to stand together. They didn't have a specific plan of action, but they just pledged solidarity."

If successful, the state's enforcement would end a decades-long struggle of state officials to collect the revenue.
The last attempt, in 1997, resulted in Seneca tribe members in Cattaraugus County occupying Thruway overpasses in protest. Fourteen people were arrested and two state troopers were injured during the protests.
State officials say they are ready to collect the tax and are moving forward with enforcement, despite the growing unease of the tribes.
"We're moving ahead in terms of our enforcement strategy with the agents," said Department of Taxation and Finance spokesman Brad Maione. "That's the focus right now."
The state approved a plan in June to collect the revenue by taxing the wholesalers who sell cigarettes on the reservations, which would lead to higher prices there. Members of the tribe would not be taxed for buying cigarettes on the reservations and could opt into a coupon program.
The proposal was coupled with a $1.60 hike in the per-pack price on cigarettes to $4.35 in an effort to balance the state's budget, a plan that is expected to generate $300 million.
As a result, cigarette sales have taken a nosedive in July.
Department of Taxation and Finance data indicates that tax stamp sales declined from May to July by about 28 percent. There was, however, a spike in June as smokers loaded up on cigarettes prior to the increase.
They sold 1,603 stamp rolls in June, up from 1,318 in May. In July, 955 rolls were sold.
New York retailers, particularly stores located on border, have taken a hit in their cigarette and tobacco sales, they reported. But the industry is hopeful the state will follow through on its collection plan this time in order to offset sagging sales.
James Calvin, president of the state Association of Convenience Stores, said the state has long had the right to collect taxes on Indian reservations, but it hasn't had the political will to do so.
"There isn't any reason why the state cannot collect these taxes. It's always come to a matter of political will," he said, adding he's hopeful but skeptical this time.
Mark Emery, a spokesman for the Oneida Nation, went further in his skepticism.
"None of New York's previous efforts to impose taxes on sovereign Indian nations have ever succeeded, and there is no reason to believe this latest effort will succeed either," Emery said.
He added that the tribe is willing to sit down and resolve the issue outside of the court system.
"When New York is ready to engage with the Oneida Nation on a government-to-government basis in which the parties respect each other's interests, we'll be ready to negotiate a final resolution that is fair and legal," he said.
E.J. McMahon, the director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, said the state is on solid legal ground if it came to a court battle.
Still, the state's windfall from collecting the tax will probably not be immediate, he said.
"I think they need to recognize that they're not likely to get the whole amount as soon as they hope," McMahon said.

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PostSubject: Re: NYS CIG TAX   Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:51 am

At the moment the outcome of this situation is being handled in state and Federal courts, ...the threat of conflict must still be prepared for at this time however, and may well be resolved there with NYS being told to go get bent.

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PostSubject: Re: NYS CIG TAX   Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:56 pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during a question-and-answer session today with reporters following his appearance at Daemen College in Amherst, said “threats” wouldn’t stop the state from collecting taxes from the sale of cigarettes on Indian reservations.

The state and several Indian tribes are currently in a court battle over the provision of collecting the taxes from sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to non-tribal citizens. The plan was put into motion by former Gov. David Paterson last year after the state Legislature approved the measure.

Here’s what the governor said:


“We are now going forward with the case. Everybody has to pay taxes, nobody likes to pay taxes. Nobody’s come up to me saying I really enjoy paying taxes and we’re going to collect taxes from everyone. There are no exceptions. And threats are not going to stop the government from doing its job and we’re not going to be intimidated.”

The Seneca Nation of Indians on Thursday released a statement decrying the governor’s budget for including the tax revenue as part of his overall cash-flow plan.

The history of collecting taxes from the tribes is fraught with conflict. When the state last attempted to follow through with such a plan in 1997, tribal members blocked traffic on the Interstate and set fire to tires.
___________________________________________

Cuomo sees $130 million from tax on
cigarettes
But Senecas vow to press opposition

ALBANY -- The proposed state budget assumes the state will collect $130 million in excise taxes on cigarettes sold by Indian retailers, making Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo the fifth governor vowing to end tax-free tobacco sales.

The governor hasn't specified how or when he might try to begin collecting the tax, and leaders of the Seneca Nation quickly vowed to fight any state effort.

"This is nothing new, and nothing has changed," said Robert Odawi Porter, president of the Seneca Nation, the largest Native American sellers of cigarettes.

The new Seneca leader said he hopes to meet with the new governor on the controversial issue, which initially surfaced in earnest during the administration of Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, the governor's father, with a 1994 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that authorized the state to collect the tax.

"But the Seneca Nation will never be the state's tax collector. We've said that repeatedly, and nothing has changed in that regard," Porter said. The matter is now in federal court, though a decision could come from an appeals panel in Manhattan in coming months.

Indian tribes, including the Senecas, have challenged a state law -- which the state has yet to enforce -- requiring that tobacco wholesalers sell only cigarettes with state excise tax stamps affixed to their packaging.

Going after the tax "upstream," at the middleman level, gets the state out of trying to collect the tax from the Indian retailers, officials say. The law also provides for a certain level of tax-free sales to members of Indian tribes for personal consumption.

The state contends that the court case, which Cuomo's office had defended while he was attorney general before becoming governor last month, is winnable and that a collection effort can begin once a decision is reached.

"The governor's position is absolutely clear: He fully intends to collect taxes on cigarettes sold by Indian reservations," said Joshua Vlasto, a Cuomo spokesman.

The last four governors have, at one time or another, signed off on state budgets that projected revenue from collecting the tobacco taxes. Industry groups that support the collection say the state loses $1 billion or more a year to the Indian tax-free sales.

State officials have long maintained those estimates are inflated.

But Indian retailers have had a steeper price advantage over non-Indian merchants since the state last year again boosted the excise tax on cigarettes by $1.60 per pack to $4.35 -- the nation's highest levy. It means Indian retailers have a built-in edge of at least that amount -- plus sales taxes they don't collect -- over non-Indian competitors.

Last year, the administration of then-Gov. David A. Paterson counted on collecting $160 million by ending tax-free sales, but court action halted that effort.

The state made its last serious attempt to collect the tax in 1997, on orders from then-Gov. George E. Pataki. A violent clash between Indian protesters and state troopers, which shut down a portion of the Thruway in Western New York, pushed Pataki to reverse his order.

Seneca officials have long maintained the state has no legal authority to collect the taxes and that the tax-free sales are protected by treaty rights dating back to George Washington.

But James Calvin, executive director of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, a trade group representing non-Indian merchants, said he believes Cuomo must think the state will win the court battle if he is including the $130 million in his proposed budget.

"I think it's encouraging to see the new governor express his intent to enforce the law once the courts give him that opportunity, and we applaud him for remaining steadfast and pursing the lawful collection of these taxes," Calvin said.

_Cuomo Stupidity______________________________________

OK......once again.......WHAT PART OF SOVEREIGN DO THEY NOT GET!!!!


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PostSubject: Seneca Nation Wins Stay in Tobacco Tax Case/Mohawks to snub tax collection   Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:15 am

Seneca Nation Wins Stay in Tobacco Tax Case

Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2011 12:18 pm | Updated: 12:32 pm, Thu Jun 9, 2011.

The Seneca Nation of Indians won a stay in the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court on a state law that attempts to tax tobacco wholesalers' transations with Indian retailers, the Seneca Nation said in a statement this afternoon.

The temporary restraining order is effective until June 20.

"If New York State courts eventually allow this New York State law to stand, it will have two primary results," said Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter. "One, good-paying retail jobs, selling a legal product in Western New York, will be lost; and, two, there will be no change in the Seneca Nation's stand that it will never collect or impose sales taxes for New York State.

"If the Nation's businesses need to shift their product mix to render such onerous tax laws moot, they will."

State Supreme Court Appellate Division Associate Justice Jerome C. Gorski granted the order at the Nation's request. It prevents New York State from enforcing the wholesaler taxing law with respect to the Seneca Nation's tobacco commerce while the Nation's appeal is heard and decided by the higher court.

On Wednesday, Justice Donna M. Siwek sided with the state and removed a temporary restraining order blocking state enforcement. Nation attorneys went to the appellate division late Wednesday and the higher court stay was put in place this morning.

[URL="http://www.salamancapress.com/blogs/article_28cbe024-92b5-11e0-a71b-001cc4c03286.html"]http://www.salamancapress.com/blogs/article_28cbe024-92b5-11e0-a71b-001cc4c03286.html[/URL]

__________________ Buffalo News
Updated: June 9, 2011, 12:53 PM


A state appeals judge today gave the Seneca Nation another a reprieve from the start of state cigarette tax collections.

Appellate Division Associate Justice Jerome C. Gorski put off enforcement of state taxation of Seneca tobacco sales to non-Indians until June 20.

His ruling affects only the Seneca Nation, who made the request to the appeals court. Enforcement of the state taxation law against other Indian tribes is not affected by the ruling.

Today's ruling comes one day after State Justice Donna M. Siwek lifted a restraining order that was stopping the state from collecting $4.35 cents on each pack of cigarettes sold by Indian tribes to non-Indians.

The Senecas "will never collect or impose sales taxes for New York State," Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter vowed after today's ruling.

A spokesman for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said this week that the state will move "swiftly" to begin tax collections, but gave no specific timetable.
[URL="http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article449315.ece"]http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article449315.ece[/URL]
________________________________________

And On the Reservation.....

About 100 people rallied Wednesday on Seneca land along the Thruway, saying they wanted the issue settled peacefully in court, but could be pushed only so far.

"Watch for what we're ready to do. Watch for the other side of the sword, that's all I'm saying," John said as passing tractor-trailers honked in apparent support.

"Nobody's going to get hurt unless you try to keep us from enforcing our laws."

Arthur "Sugar" Montour said, "This is not a tax issue. This is about sovereignty. This is about the state of New York and federal government constantly trying to take pieces of our sovereignty so they can slowly, absolutely, commit genocide against our people.

"Today, we're looking at economic genocide," Montour said.
____________________________________

June 14, 2011
Mohawks to snub tax collection

DENISE A. RAYMO Press-Republican


AKWESASNE — Cigarette-tax collection on Indian reservations in New York is on hold again, but Akwesasne leaders say they will not participate in either enforcement option offered in the law.

A Supreme Court ruling handed up last Wednesday lifted a temporary court order that had prevented the state from collecting a $4.35-per-pack tax on cigarettes sold on reservations in New York, including Akwesasne.

But the Seneca Indian Nation was granted an injunction late Thursday by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court to hold off all tax collection on reservations until June 20.

Repeated calls to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council were not returned, and officials with the Genienkeh Territory near Altona could not be reached.

Under the law, the additional per-pack tax would be collected by wholesalers at the front end of cigarette-buying transactions, and they would, in turn, pass the increase on to reservation retailers.

The price that customers would pay for national-brand cigarettes would go from $27 a carton to roughly $70.50 and locally manufactured smokes would go from about $13 per carton to $56.50.

About 700,000 cartons are sold on the Akwesasne reservation each year, and the state anticipates bringing in $200 million to $1 billion a year from the sales-tax collection on New York reservations.

CARTON ISSUING

But leaders of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council recently told residents at a community meeting attended by the Indian Time newspaper they will not participate in either collection options contained in the state law.

One plan calls for wholesalers to issue a fixed number of cartons to the territory and disburse them on a first-come, first-served basis to the retailers, the article states.

The smokes would be tracked and paid for quarterly.

Some Akwesasne store owners fear one business could monopolize the shipments as long as they had the cash on hand to afford it, leaving others without popular national-brand products to sell, the newspaper states.

Losing that portion of the lucrative cigarette trade could force some stores out of business.

VOUCHERS

The other alternative is that Akwesasne retailers would issue vouchers to their Indian customers, who are exempt from paying all state and federal taxes.

Those customers would send their coupon in to the state for reimbursement of the state tax.

Akwesasne store owners say the 119,000 vouchers per quarter allotted to Akwesasne may not be enough for the demand and that they, as tribal retailers, do not want to be tax-collecting agents for the state against their own people.

"Regardless of which system we are talking about, neither is satisfactory," Tribal Chief Mark Garrow said in the Indian Time article.

If the tribe does not choose an option from the two, the law states that its retailers will automatically be set up on the coupon-allotment system.

Retailers at Akwesasne have said that if the state-tax collection is implemented, they would no longer sell national-brand cigarettes.
[URL="http://pressrepublican.com/0100_news/x1678755620/Mohawks-to-snub-tax-collection"]http://pressrepublican.com/0100_news/x1678755620/Mohawks-to-snub-tax-collection[/URL]

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PostSubject: Re: NYS CIG TAX   Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:05 pm

http://observertoday.com/page/conten....html?nav=5047


Court lifts order against Indian cigarette tax

June 22, 2011

By CAROLYN THOMPSON Associated Press , The OBSERVER


BUFFALO - New York's decades-old quest to tax the millions of cartons of cigarettes sold by Indian tribes to non-Native customers was revived on Tuesday after an appeals court lifted an order blocking collection of the $4.35-per-pack tax.

The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court in Rochester vacated a temporary restraining order in place since June 10 and denied a request by the Seneca Indian Nation, New York's largest tribal tobacco retailer, for a preliminary injunction while it challenges Tax Department regulations.

State officials did not indicate when collections might begin.

"The administration will move aggressively to collect the taxes," a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said.

The state anticipated collecting $500,000 a day in new tax revenue beginning Sept. 1, 2010, but has been stalled by legal challenges from at least five Indian nations. The Seneca case before the court was the latest stumbling block.

Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter said Tuesday the nation would ask the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, to review the decision.

"In our treaties with the United States, we gave up most of our land to retain the 'free use and enjoyment' to conduct business in our remaining territories free from the state's taxes," Porter said in a statement. "New York will never collect a cent of revenue from tobacco sales occurring in our territories, and revenue projections so indicating are foolishness."

Owners of non-Native American convenience stores, who've watched the reservation cigarette business flourish as New York has increased its cigarette tax to the highest in the country, urged the state to act immediately. Free of taxes, Native smoke shops charge about half the $10 off-reservation price for name-brand cigarettes and even less for brands manufactured on reservations.

The state has talked about taxing cigarette sales to the general public since 1988 but instead has largely followed a policy known as forbearance. Attempts to collect the tax in the 1990s resulted in sometimes violent protests and fires on Seneca territories and a reluctance by state officials since then to push the issue. Then last June, lawmakers, faced with a $9.2 billion budget deficit, voted to move forward with collections.

"Today's appellate court ruling adds yet another judicial decision affirming that the state can collect these taxes, close this loophole and finally provide our retailers with the fairness they have been seeking for decades," said Jim Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores.

Cigarette wholesalers would be required to pay the sales taxes up front and then pass along the levy to the tribal retailers they supply. Some wholesalers have already indicated they would stop supplying reservation stores if the tax is enforced.

Porter said the nation, which has about 172 retail operations, would rely on tribally manufactured cigarettes to sustain its tobacco economy, a sentiment echoed by the Oneida Nation of central New York.

"Today marks the beginning of a new era in the nation's tobacco trade and exercise of our sovereignty," Porter said.

"While the state may be able to embargo through taxation premium brands from entering our territory, it cannot tax the brands made in our territory or any of the Six Nations," Porter said. "We will never stop fighting the state's predatory actions."

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