Editorial: Seneca Nation blows clouds of smoke
"No matter how many bills the New York State Legislature passes, and how many of them Gov. David A. Paterson signs, the state won’t collect a dime of taxes on cigarettes sold on the state’s Native American reservations until various matters are hashed out, once and for all, in court.

So, by all means, let’s get to litigating.

Paterson must have had this in mind Monday when he signed the latest legislative attempt to apply the state’s $2.75- a-pack excise tax to the cigarettes sold to non-Indians by the Seneca Nation and the other tribes that claim treaty rights to be exempt from state taxation.

A long-standing conflict of court rulings makes it extremely unlikely that the law Paterson signed will have any direct impact on Indian cigarette sales. But it may strengthen his hand in the ongoing talks with the Senecas over how to resolve the issue.

Or it might be more accurate to say that signing the bill won’t boost Paterson’s position so much as vetoing it would have weakened it. Signing the bill was Paterson’s way of saying he will not abandon the 1994 U. S. Supreme Court ruling holding that the state has the right to collect the tax."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Clouds of smoke (The Buffalo News 12/18)

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