Business | Law

New York governor anticipates $130M from cigarette tax on tribes





New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) released his proposed budget and said he anticipates the state will collect $130 million in tobacco taxes in Indian Country.

The state is taxing wholesalers who sell to reservation smoke shops. The Seneca Nation called the plan illegal.

“This is nothing new, and nothing has changed. We hope to have a chance to discuss these and other issues with the governor," President Robert Odawi Porter said in a statement. "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.”

Richard Nephew, the chair of Seneca Nation Council, echoed those sentiments. He said the tribe's treaty protects its right to sell tax-free goods.

“The Seneca Nation firmly maintains and will not be deterred from its long-held position that the state is not entitled to collect taxes from commerce on Seneca territories, owing to our treaty guarantees that provide for our tax-immune status," Nephew said. "We understand that Gov. Cuomo had publicly stated his commitment to collecting taxes that the state is entitled to. The key words here are ‘entitled to.’ We don’t believe New York State is entitled to this revenue and we will not be tax collectors for the state.”

Get the Story:
Cuomo sees $130 million from tax on cigarettes (The Buffalo News 2/3)
Capitol Confidential: Once again, Indian tobacco taxes assumed (The Albany Times Union 2/3)

Related Stories:
New York governor affirms intent to impose tobacco tax on tribes (1/13)

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