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Democrats, Republicans at odds over tobacco tax

Democrats and Republicans in New York are at odds over the collection of state taxes on the reservation.

Outgoing Gov. George Pataki (R) delayed the tax in hopes of coming to agreements with the state's tribes. But attorney general Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat who is running for governor, says the taxes should be collected. Other Democrats are criticizing Pataki as well.

Indian businesses say the tax, imposed on wholesalers who supply cigarettes to reservations, will force them out of business. Randy Chrysler, the owner of smoke shop on the Tuscarara Reservation, had to lay off about half of his workforce when a wholesaler was forced to stop shipments.

The shipments are back on now that the state Tax Department said it won't enforce the new law. But tribal leaders and Indian business owners aren't giving up the fight and say they will mount a public relations campaign against Spitzer.

Get the Story:
State to Forgo Cigarette Tax to Keep Peace With Indians (The New York Times 3/21)

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