Monday, December 15, 2008

Seneca Nation vows to fight law

(From an online article)

Its an issue that ignited heated protests in the past, taxing cigarettes sold by Native Americans.

The Seneca Nation vows to fight the law signed Monday by Governor David Paterson.

Larry Johnston drove from Grand Island to pick up ten cartons of cigarettes on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in Niagara County.

Johnston said, "I'm here today to stock up, you know, more than I can really afford today just in case to see what happens with this issue."

What happened is Governor David Paterson signed into law a bill that intends to enforce collection of excise taxes on cigarettes sold at Indian-owned stores.

The new law will prohibit manufacturers from selling tobacco products without a state tax stamp to any wholesaler that doesn't certify the cigarettes won't be resold tax-free by New York's tribes.

It's not going over well at Native American stores like Jay's Place in Niagara County.

Jay's Place cashier Lisa said, "This issue for us is about New York State breaking federal treaties, and it's not within their jurisdiction to do that."

Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder said Monday, "This action is a threat to the Seneca Nation and we have no choice but to explore all of our options. The issue here is not cigarettes, Snyder adds, but the protection of the nation's treaty rights.

We'll do whatever it takes at the right time to protect those rights."

Tony Irizak said, "I think it's good for us, for the stores."

At the Quick Check convenience store in Kenmore, Manager Tony Irizak sees it as good news.

Irizak said, "This way it'll be fair between us and the Indians. We get the same, everybody will pay taxes."

The last time the state tried to collect the tobacco taxes, Seneca protestors used burning tires to shut down a section of the State Thruway, which runs through tribal territory.

The next step will be for the State Tax Department to establish a certification process for wholesalers within 60 ! days.
Supporters of the new law believe the tax would bring the state more than 62 million dollars a year

1 comment:

Jason T said...

It's not good news to me. Even though Native American cigs ain't popular nationwide (YET), they're obviously starting to become more noticed from the NY government looking to collect taxes Since more NY smokers are gonna drive the distance just to stock up on cartons and save moolah.

If Natives want to sell tax-free cigs, that's their right. I wonder what's next in NY. I heard of a few states like TN and Iowa who got state cops patrolling the states' borders in order to cut down on TN/Iowa smokers going out of state.

Like if you in TN and you go to Kentucky or Missouri to buy your cigs, once you get to the TN border line, state cops will be there to greet you and see if you bought more than 2 cartons outta state. If you didn't, you free to go. But if you bought more than 2 cartons in KY or Missouri, then you eitha gotta pay TN's taxes on those cartons, or the state cops will confiscate all of those cigs.

I hope somethang similar doesn't happen in NY state where a darn smoke cop will pull you over to see how many cartons of Native brands you got. I know I ain't paying NY's taxes on 10 Seneca cartons...that would be like a MFkin 800 bucks I actually spent for a brand that's supposed to cost only $160 for 10 cartons.

And I ain't gonna let em confiscate the Seneca cartons eitha. So I guess my only option would be to win a speed chase with smoke cops.

That IS sad though...smokers being pulled over and arrested for buying cheapa cigs. I'm sure arrest is what they would do if they didn't confiscate em. Cops should be pulling over and arresting criminals instead.

Oh yeah...buying tax-free Native cigs is a crime to the cops. Well F the cops in all honesty. Those smokers are saving MOOLAH on cigs. Not committing a REAL crime. I just hope those NY smokers who buy Native cartons offline are smart in working around smoke cops.

BTW, I will add just cause Native American cigs are a lot cheapa in price doesn't mean their cigs taste like sh!t. Seneca FF Regs taste like a cheapa version of Marlboro Reds. And the Seneca FF Menthols are very similar to the Newport taste. I know cause I tried smoking both of these Senecas before.