Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Flash: NEW YORK PASSES LAW TO TAX RESERVATION CIGS SOLD TO NON-INDIANS, SENECA INDIAN COUNCILOR CALLS IT ACT OF WAR

Feather News

"It's an act of war," Seneca Nation councilor J.C. Seneca told the Buffalo News after learning of the passsing of a law this week that will tax cigarettes sold to non-Indians on the state's Indian reservations in New York beginning September 1.

Seneca said, "If anything happens, it's on their hands." And things are likely to happen as it did in the 1990's when the state attempted to tax cigarettes sold on reservations. The state folded then but this time the confrontations could well explode if both the Indians and the non-Indian government stand their ground.

Governor David Paterson seems to have enlisted the federal government this time around when he asked for their support on enforcing the collection of taxes, "The governor will pursue a policy that respects the sovereignty of Indian nations while ensuring the collection of taxes from those who rightly owe them."

That will remain to be seen.

In the 1990's an armed standoff took place on the Paugusett Indian Reservation in Colchester, Connecticut over the state's insistence that cigarettes sold on the reservation be taxed. The Paugusett's self-proclaimed war chief Moonface Bear went on to fight the case in the state court system but died before any decisions could be rendered in that case.

The state of New York claims it is losing billions of dollars in taxes due to tax-free cigarettes sold on reservations in that state.