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Tuscaroras make toll booths over NY tax
Updated: Thursday, 16 Sep 2010, 9:11 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 15 Sep 2010, 11:06 PM EDT
Posted by: Eli George
SANBORN, N.Y. (WIVB) - The battle is heating up over Albany's effort to collect cigarette taxes from Indian retailers. The Tuscaroras are threatening to collect highway tolls in Niagara County.
For most of the day on Wednesday, traffic moved at a snail's pace along Route 31 in the Town of Sanborn. It was just a preview of what could happen here if the Tuscarora Indian Reservation follows through with its plan.
Nicholas Patterson said, "We're setting up toll booths for a dollar to get past on the reservation."
They aren't collecting taxes just yet, but that's their plan and they're letting drivers know. Patterson and Adrian Bigfoot say they will be out here every day until the state backs down from its plan to collect cigarette taxes from non-Indian customers.
"They wanna tax us, you know what I mean? I think it's time we tax them. It's vice versa, it can work both ways," said Patterson.
On Tuesday, a New York State Appeals Court lifted a temporary restraining order that blocked the state from collecting the taxes. The most recent plan would do so through wholesale manufacturers that ship their products to reservations. Indians who live on reservations would still be able to buy tax-free cigarettes. Cigarettes produced and sold on reservations would not be taxed. But Indians say that collecting any taxes from their cigarettes is unacceptable.
Kathy Jacobs said, "This is how a lot of people make their money out here, and if they start taxing cigarettes, they could start taxing our food that we sell to our people out here."
Hudson Rankin thought, "I think they should. I think Paterson should leave them alone with the taxes."
This will continue as long as the state doesn't leave the Indians alone.
Shirleen Clause said, "It's just like crossing over the Grand Island. They have the right to do that. We're saying that we have the right to also do that."
http://www.wivb.com/dpp/news/new_york/T … ver-NY-tax