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New York Indians gear up for tobacco tax fight

The debate over tobacco is raging again in New York as non-Indian retailers press the state to collect taxes on reservations.

At least four lawsuits have been filed to force collection of the tax. Non-Indians say the state is losing upwards of $576 million a year.

But reservation retailers say they will fight any efforts to impose the tax. In 1997, members of the Seneca Nation blocked roads and confronted state police before state officials back down from collection a reservation tax.

This time, tribes face pressure from attorney general Eliot Spitzer, who is running for governor. He has slowly moved to stop the shipment of tobacco products to the reservation and is pledging to take a hard line on taxes if elected.

Get the Story:
NY's Indian leaders say they will fight any effort to tax cigarettes they sell to non-Indians (Newsday 8/8)

Relevant Links:
Association of Responsible Cigarette Sellers -
Seneca Nation -
Honor Indian Treaties -

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