Here’s the story from the Associated Press:
n this Aug. 23, 2010 photo, a motorist enters a business on the Tonawanda Seneca Nation in New York. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
In this Aug. 23, 2010 photo, signs are posted on a bridge on the Tonawanda Seneca Nation in New York. Tensions are rising as the state nears the Sept. 1 start date to collect taxes on cigarettes sold by Indian tribes. The photo at left depicts New York Gov. David Paterson, while the photo at right depicts New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked New York state’s plans to tax the Seneca and Cayuga nations’ sales of cigarettes to non-Indian customers.
Judge Richard Arcara granted a request by the tribes for a court order that stops the state from imposing a $4.35 per pack sales tax on cigarettes sold by reservation retailers starting on Wednesday. The ruling delays those collections for at least two weeks. It wasn’t immediately clear if the state will go ahead with taxes on other tribes.
Attempts to collect the tax in the 1990s resulted in sometimes violent protests on Seneca lands.
The Senecas — the biggest player in the business — and Cayugas argued the policy change violates sovereign rights and will damage their economies.
The cash-strapped state sees the tax as a potential $200 million source of annual revenue.
Tags: buffalo post, Cayuga Nation, cigarette tax, David Paterson, Judge Richard Arcara, Michael Bloomberg, New York, Richard Arcara, Seneca Nation, Tribal smoke shops, tribal sovereignty