Editorial: Cayuga Nation tobacco battle a big issue
"The Cayuga County Legislature will vote Tuesday night on a resolution that asks state officials to pick up the legal bill for its fight against the Cayuga Indian Nation over the tribe's possession and sale of untaxed cigarettes.

It's an issue that's been brought up before, but Gov. David Paterson has refused the request. His explanation is that the state and local officials should be trying to negotiate with Indian tribes on this issue.

The problem with that explanation is that it's wholly inconsistent with a.) the state's willingness to provide the counties with legal representation in its fight to keep Cayuga Indian Nation-owned land out of federally protected trust status and b.) the governor's own call this year to begin collecting cigarette taxes sold by Indian retailers to non-Indian customers.

And there's more justification for the state to financially back the counties' legal fight. The state attorney general has filed a “friend of the court” brief in this case that supports the counties. In other words, the state's chief lawyer (who will likely be a primary opponent of the governor, it should be noted) concurs with what the counties are trying to do, but its governor doesn't believe this is a legal matter the state should be involved with."

Get the Story:
Our View: State needs to back counties' tobacco tax fight (The Auburn Citizen 2/22)

Relevant Documents:
2010-11 Executive Budget | Briefing Book

New York Appellate Division Decision:
Cayuga Nation v. Gould (July 10, 2009)

New York Supreme Court Decision:
Cayuga Nation v. Gould (December 9, 2008)

Related Stories:
Cayuga Nation wants seized cigarettes back (7/17)
Second county rejects Cayuga tobacco tax offer (7/16)
County to appeal Cayuga Nation tobacco case (7/15)
Cayuga Nation offers settlement in tobacco case (7/14)
Cayuga Nation wins tobacco taxation decision (7/13)
Battle over Cayuga Nation tobacco continues (3/6)
Cayuga Nation halts sale of tax-free cigarettes (2/20)
Judge rules against Cayuga Nation tobacco sales (2/19)
Cayuga Nation to reopen disputed smoke shops (01/30)
Court halts Cayuga Nation tobacco prosecution (01/22)
Cayuga Nation seeks halt to tobacco prosecution (1/13)
Cayuga Nation plans to fight tobacco tax charges (12/10)
Cayuga Nation in court over raid of smokeshops (12/4)
Cayuga Nation claims 'reservation' exemption (12/2)
Cayuga Nation heads to court after smokeshop raid (12/1)
County authorities raid Cayuga Nation smoke shops (11/26)