Editorial: Follow through on New York tobacco tax planMonday, March 1, 2010
"New York state has failed to implement a system that would preserve the rights of Indian nation members to obtain tax-free cigarettes while sales to non-Indians are taxed. For many years, despite laws on the books to the contrary, the state Department of Taxation and Finance had purposely avoided enforcement of sales tax collections.
Now, with a state budget crisis that seems to grow worse each week, it appears Gov. David Paterson is finally realizing that this issue can no longer be ignored.
At Paterson's direction, the state tax department last week announced new proposed regulations aimed at eliminating untaxed cigarette sales to non-Indian customers, a practice that has been costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues and that has been putting non-Indian cigarette retailers at a considerable disadvantage.
The new rules would use a formula to determine a quarterly amount of untaxed cigarettes that could go to each Indian nation for use by their own members. All other cigarettes bought wholesale by the tribe and sold to non-Indian customers would be taxed."