Senecas back in court over New York cigarette tax plans

Buffalo, New York (AP) May 2011

A state judge has issued a temporary order preventing New York from taxing reservation cigarette sales to non-Indian customers.

Lawyers for the Seneca Nation went to state Supreme Court seeking an injunction blocking the tax. The judge gave them until June 1 to make their case that the state adopted the regulations hastily and without required public comment.

The state Attorney General’s office opposed the request.

The order comes a day after a federal appeals court lifted orders that had been barring the collections on other grounds.

The 2nd Circuit rebuffed New York Indian nations’ arguments that the taxing system unduly burdens reservation retailers and interferes with tribal sovereignty.

The state anticipates collecting $500,000 a day in revenues. Some tribes appear to be moving toward stocking more Indian-manufactured cigarettes, which remain tax-exempt.