Tax free cigarettes will continue to be sold to non-Natives on the Seneca Nation for the meantime.
A New York State Supreme Court judge issued a temporary restraining order on the proposed New York state tax of cigarettes Tuesday. The state cannot collect taxes on the sale of cigarettes to non-Indians on Seneca land until the judge hears arguments in the issue on June 1, the Buffalo News reports.
The issue has been bouncing around in courts for months, as the tribes fight the tax.
Meanwhile, two major tobacco wholesalers said this morning that they have shut off the tobacco supply line to Indian tribes across the state.
“It looks like it’s over,” said Peter Day, president of Day Wholesale in Tupper Lake.
The moves come a day after a federal court gave the state the green light to begin collecting taxes on cigarette sales by Indian retailers to non-Indians.
“We’ll be out of business,” said Frank Attea of Buffalo’s Attea Milhem & Bros.
He said the court decision will force him to close his Buffalo tobacco business, which once had been the major tobacco supplier to the Seneca Nation of Indians. He said 30 workers face the loss of their jobs.