Editorial: Tax tribal tobacco sales in New York
"A showdown with the Indian nations of upstate New York might be the last thing Gov. David Paterson wants at the moment, but given the state’s financial predicament, he appears to have little choice.

The state is in dire fiscal trouble, with a deficit expected to exceed $14 billion next year. All New Yorkers are going to have to make sacrifices to help balance the budget. That includes thousands of smokers, who for years have evaded the state’s admittedly high cigarette taxes by buying smokes on Indian reservations within the state, and the Indians themselves: Their tribal lands may be sovereign, but it’s not as if their residents are foreigners who don’t avail themselves of any services furnished by the state.

Besides, New York isn’t trying to tax the cigarettes these Indians smoke themselves; it just wants to keep them from selling tax-free cigarettes to non-Indians. Those cigarettes cost the state an estimated $400 million a year, a sum it can ill afford to pass up in such hard times."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Time to tax Indian cigarette sales (The Schenectady Daily Gazette 12/14)

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