December 24th, 2008
The day after Gov. David Paterson signed a cigarette tax bill in the stateâ€™s latest attempt to get tax revenues from the Indian tobacco trade, tribal leaders said they will fight the proposal in every way they can.
Harry Wallace, the chief of the Unkechaug Indian Nation summed up the tribesâ€™ position: â€œOur position is very simple and it is simply this: We cannot be compelled or forced or coerced or threatened to collect New York state taxes without our consent. Nothing that they do will ever achieve that goal,â€ Wallace told Indian Country Today.
Paterson signed the bill â€“ Assembly bill 11258A/Senate bill 8146-B â€“ at a â€œceremonyâ€ in Utica Dec. 15, according to the governorâ€™s press release.
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I don’t know if the tribes brought a lawsuit already, but Indian Country Today is reporting that a New York state judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent enforcement of the new law at this time.
“New York Supreme Court Judge Rose Sconiers issued a Temporary Restraining Order Dec. 24, prohibiting the state from stopping stamping agents from selling unstamped cigarettes to reservation retailers or restricting reservation retailers from selling unstamped cigarettes to tribal members and non-Indians until the state distributes tax-exempt coupons to the nine Indian tribes within state borders.”