January 17, 2017

Senecas to make case against taxing cigarettes

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Lawyers for the Seneca Indian Nation and New York state are set to square off in court over the state’s plans to tax reservation cigarette sales to non-Indian customers.

A hearing in Erie County Court in Buffalo is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Last month, just as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration was preparing to begin collecting the $4.35-per-pack tax on smoke shop sales statewide, the western New York Senecas won a temporary restraining order blocking collections pending Wednesday’s hearing.

At issue is whether the state followed its own rules in adopting taxing regulations.

It’s the latest face-off in a years-long dispute between New York and Indian tribes over the taxation issue.

The Senecas say the tax would violate historic treaties.