New York State - in budget governor includes $130 million in revenues from taxes on cigarettes sold by Indian merchants..

Former Governor Patterson
Current Governor Cuomo..

February 5, 2011 - New York State's Governor Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s intention to enforce taxation on Native-sold cigarettes is on paper. In the first state budget of his tenure, the governor accounted for $130 million in revenues from taxes on cigarettes sold by Native merchants.

“This is nothing new, and nothing has changed,” said Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter in reaction to the state budget, which was released Tuesday. “We hope to have a chance to discuss these and other issues with the governor.”

Gov. Cuomo is the fifth state executive who will try to end tax-free cigarette sales by New York Indian tribes, an effort started nearly three decades ago by his father and former governor, Mario Cuomo. Several spending plans of the last four governors have all included expected revenues from Native-sold cigarette taxation — a move the state executives believed would bridge budget shortfalls.

Including revenues from Native-sold cigarette taxation in the 2011-12 state budget isn’t Gov. Cuomo’s first indication of plans to collect the taxes.

The following are statements from Seneca Nation of Indians President Robert Odawi Porter: From President Robert Odawi Porter: “This is nothing new, and nothing has changed. We hope to have a chance to discuss these and other issues with the governor. But the Seneca Nation will never be the state’s tax collector. We’ve said that repeatedly and nothing has changed in that regard. But we’re looking forward to talking with the governor and his staff about what divides us.” (Seneca Nation reacts to Cuomo's budget, posted by: Emily Lenihan,, 2/32011)

Former Governor Patterson had plans that was suppose to start on Wednesday, September 1st the state will require wholesalers who supply Indian reservation stores to pay the $4.35 per-pack tax upfront and then collect it from the tribes. Tribes say they won’t pay any New York taxes and will sell their own brands instead. (Onondagas say they will stop selling national-brand cigarettes, Glenn Coin, The Post-Standard, 8/27/2010.)

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 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. New York State - federal judge rules in favor of the state but still can't start collecting sales tax; no mediation..

References: State’s tax on Native cigarettes in budget by Christopher Michel, Olean Times Herald, 2/4/2011; Cuomo sees $130 million from tax on
But Senecas vow to press opposition
by Tom Precious, NEWS ALBANY BUREAU,, 2/2/2011.



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