Bill Collecting Cigarette Taxes on Indian Reservations is Signed

ALBANY—With the stroke of a pen, Gov. David Paterson set the state up to collect some $400 million a year in revenue from cigarettes sold on Indian reservations to non-Indians.

“We’re pleased that he signed it because laws are back to being enforced, and we’re collecting revenue that is badly needed in these tough fiscal times,” said State Senator Joe Griffo, a Republican from Rome who attended the bill signing ceremony this morning in Utica.

The bill would require anyone selling unstamped (untaxed) cigarettes to sign an affidavit saying cigarettes would not be sold tax free, and face perjury penalties for violating the law.

Indian tribes – including the Seneca Nation of Indians – lobbied intensely against the proposal with radio advertisements and through a letter-writing campaign. In the past, they even threatened to shut down a portion of the State Thruway that passes through a reservation.

[Photo courtesy of Lionoche]

Bill Collecting Cigarette Taxes on Indian Reservations is Signed