Tobacco shops on Seneca Nation put 1,000 people to work

Tobacco is big business on the Seneca Nation in New York, where about 1,000 people are employed by smoke shops like the one owned by J. Conrad Seneca.

Seneca, 50, runs the Native Pride Travel Plaza. He employs 120 people, most of them non-Indian.

"We have our treaties with the United States that guarantee us certain rights. It doesn't matter whether a treaty was made in 1842 or 1794, or New York state is $8 billion in the hole," Seneca told The Ithaca Journal, citing a treaty right to sell tobacco free of state taxation.

Gov. David Paterson (D) wants to tap into the reservation revenue stream and require smoke shops to collect taxes on the sale of tobacco to non-Indians.

Get the Story:
Mr. Seneca's smokes: Where tobacco, taxes and treaties converge (The Ithaca Journal 5/12)

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