August 31, 2010 - Starting September 1, 2010 NY Governor Paterson has vowed to collect $4.35 in state taxes for each pack of cigarettes sold by Indian businesses to non-Native Americans. Traditionally, such sales have not been taxed. Andrew D. Bing of the State Attorney General's Office estimated that the state could collect $110 million in cigarette taxes from Native American businesses in the first six months after the law takes effect.
Lawyers for New York State won the latest round in the legal fight Monday, August 30th. State Supreme Court Justice Donna M. Siwek lifted two injunctions previously issued by another judge, which had prevented the state from taxing any Native American cigarette sales. In a ruling Siwek said she agreed with state lawyers who argued that the state acted legally in enacting a new tax-collection law earlier this year. "I find that the state has met its burden," Siwek said, reading her order from the bench of her downtown Buffalo courtroom.
Lawyers for the Seneca Nation and other Indian tribes have one more day to convince a judge that the state's efforts to tax millions of dollars in Native American cigarette sales to non-Indians are illegal. With tax collections scheduled to begin Wednesday, September 1st the Seneca Nation and other Indian tribes will get another chance to fight the law in federal court Tuesday afternoon, August 31st.
They will ask U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to issue an injunction delaying the implementation of the new law, which could ignite some violent demonstrations by angry Senecas. Judge Richard Arcara has granted a request by two western New York tribes for a court order that would stop the state from imposing a $4.35 per-pack sales tax on cigarettes sold by reservation retailers starting Wednesday.
New York State’s plan to begin collecting tax on Indian-sold cigarettes will be delayed for at least two weeks. The temporary restraining order delays (for at least two weeks) the collection of a tax on cigarettes. The tax totals $4.35 per pack of cigarettes sold to non-Indian customers. The ruling now allows time for more legal arguments to be heard on the issue.
The Seneca Nation will withhold future revenue-sharing payments to New York State from its three Western New York casinos, Tribal Council members voted on Monday, August 30th. (VIDEO - Seneca Nation to Withhold NYS Casino Payments
by John Borsa, WKBW.com channel 7, 8/30/2010)
References: State lawyers win another round in cigarette tax battle Collections by state to start Wednesday unless tribes obtain injunction in federal court today by Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News, 8/31/2010; Federal Judge Puts Indian Cig Tax on Hold, Reported by: Sean Carroll (firstname.lastname@example.org), 13WHAM.com news, 8/31/2010.
Some related news briefs:
New York State - Governor Patterson will not tax cigarettes sold among Native Americans..;
New York - Senecas asking for Bloomberg to resign over remarks he made..;
New York State - Seneca Indian Nation files sued to block enforcement of a plan to collect cigarette taxes..;