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February 3, 2011 - 8:52am

Today's Poll: Should Cuomo try to tax tobacco sold on reservations?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Bob Harker
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Without even going into the sovereign nation debate, they have not been taxed for almost 100 years. Entire communities base their economy on this practice. Just because our legislators spend money like drunken sailors, it is wrong to blindly grab at all possible new revenue. Many people are under the misconception that any windfall revenue like this would go toward reducing the state's deficit. Wrong! History has shown us many times that when Albany gets its hands on money, it immediately goes some new program or entitlement. CM, are the folks that live on the various reservations represented in Albany? I don't recall any comments from area representatives. Note: I'm not a smoker, nor am I a drunken sailor (anymore). :)
Jeremiah Pedro
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Where are all my Constitutionalists at? It is in plain language of the Commerce clause. Article one Section eight. "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;...To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;" U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. I guess New York state thinks they can do whatever they want screw the Constitution right?
Jeremiah Pedro
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The State Government has no right whatsoever to lay taxes on items manufactured or sold on Indian Reservations.
C. M. Barons
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I'm not aware of any direct representation of NY Native Americans in state government. The solution to this protracted showdown is to collect the tax at the border when tobacco products enter the state. NY could revive collectible tobacco tax stamps. NY could start new career opportunities- tobacco duty collectors, tobacco bootleggers, tobacco enforcement... As to Constitutional right of NY to collect taxes, I don't think the Feds ever exerted exclusive claim to taxation. Excise taxes, taxation at transaction, is a relatively recent practice. It emerged in the 1930s, one alternative to prior reliance on property tax.
John Roach
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Jeremiah, I would say that if they can fine me or put me in jail for not buying a product (health insurance) then they can tax cigarettes sold on Reservations. Bob, I agree. If they get this money, they will use it to fund programs that should be cut. It will never be used to pay down debt.
Jeremiah Pedro
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John, With regard to the health care issue it would be the Federal Government and not the State Government that would be forcing you to buy a product. The point I am making is that the Federal Government and specifically Congress are the only ones that can control the issue of taxes on the reservation and not the State Government.
Jeremiah Pedro
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C.M., I would say that the Constitution is all the exertion that the Federal Government needs. the State has got along fine with out taxing the Sovereign Indian Nations that are Federally recognized as such. Why now would it be ok for the State to skirt the U.S. Constitution now? It's not ok. The tax scheme they are proposing is the exact same as if the State was trying to levy a tax on items manufactured or sold in lets say Canada or maybe even Ohio or Pennsylvania.
C. M. Barons
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I'm not saying that the state should tax reservation transactions. Never have, never will. My point: if NY wants to tax tobacco, do it at the border; let the manufacturer/distributor pay up-front. Why put the onus on any retailer?
Jeremiah Pedro
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C.M. I see what your saying. Like how Customs collects duty on items you buy in another country that are over the limits for duty free. That could work as long as it was the Federal government collecting the duty because the State would be overstepping their bounds. Because the way you put is the State would basically set up a border check point at all the roads leading into and out of the various Indian reservations with in the bounds of New York State. With that reasoning then New York Should also set up similar border checkpoints on all roads coming into New York State from surrounding States and collect a duty on all products bought by New York residents in other States. In my opinion it really isn't a question of should New York state levy a tax on tobacco products sold on Indian reservations. The question really comes down to is New York state legally allowed to levy such a tax.
RICHARD L. HALE
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Okay....how about a compromise? The state gets to tax the reservations for all goods sold to non Indians. In return, for every day the state budget is late, the Albany crowd has to give up 8% of their pay. Deal?

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