Advertise:   712.224.5420

Two New York tribes depend on brisk cigarette sales

Two New York tribes fear their major source of income -- sales of tobacco products -- will be lost if their smoke shops are forced to collect state taxes.

The Shinnecock Nation and the Unkechaug Nation are recognized by the state. Like the federally recognized tribes in the state, their status allows them to avoid paying the $1.50 a pack minimum tax.

But that could change under a lawsuit filed by non-Indian retailers who say they are losing business to tribal smokeshops on reservations throughout the state. The Shinnecock and Unkechaug have asked a federal judge to dismiss the case.

All the tribes in the state face another challenge in the coming year. A new state law requires the collection of the $1.50 tax but outgoing Gov. George Pataki (R) delayed enforcement.

Democratic candidate Eliot Spitzer, who is ahead in the polls, says he will enforce it. As attorney general, he has worked out deals with the credit card and shipping industries to block tribal tobacco sales.

Get the Story:
Tribes Fear Cigarette Tax Law Could Destroy Their Prosperity (The New York Times 11/6)

Relevant Links:
Honor Indian Treaties -

Related Stories:
New York tribes cite sovereignty in tax suit (10/11)
New York busts tobacco smuggling ring (08/11)
New York Indians gear up for tobacco tax fight (8/8)
New York sued over Internet tobacco taxation (05/04)
New York governor sued over Indian taxes (5/3)
Washington tribes meet with state over taxes (5/1)
Osage Nation sues state over tobacco rules again (4/21)
Democrats, Republicans at odds over tobacco tax (03/21)
Editorial: If Indians won't pay tobacco tax, get rid of it (03/21)
Battle brewing over tobacco taxes in New York (3/20)
Seneca Nation criticizes tobacco shipment bill (03/13)
New York won't collect sales taxes on reservations (02/24)
Group pushes Pataki to collect reservation taxes (2/16)
Two Washington tribes reach deal on state gas tax (01/27)
Pataki to delay collection of cigarette taxes (01/19)
Tribes not worried about Supreme Court ruling (12/09)
Supreme Court upholds state tax on reservation fuel (12/07)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe won't enter tobacco deal (12/07)
Washington to use gas tax decision against tribes (12/07)
U.S. Supreme Court weighs tribal-state tax case (10/04)
Pataki shifts stance on reservation taxation (02/24)
Pataki cites sovereignty in veto of Indian tax bill (11/16)
Pataki expected to veto Indian tax legislation (11/12)
Convenience stores blame revenue loss on Indians (05/25)
Seneca Nation commissions study on state tax plan (05/12)
New York lawmakers press state taxation on tribes (04/28)
Pataki wants to delay Indian taxation indefinitely (02/11)
Top N.Y. lawmaker rejects call to delay Indian tax (01/29)
Pataki calls for delay in state taxation plan (01/22)
Poll shows N.Y. residents oppose state tax plan (12/09)
N.Y. delays implementation of Indian tax rules (11/10)
Seneca Nation leaders lobby against tax effort (11/7)
Seneca Nation plans lawsuit over state tax plan (11/6)
Seneca Nation launches ad campaign against taxes (10/28)
Oneida Nation near deal with state on taxation (10/23)
Mohawk Tribe protesting state's taxation plan (09/18)
N.Y. tribes opposing state plan to collect tax (9/16)