Is the Supreme Court ruling AGAINST the cayugas due to hate? Read the Sherrill decision in which the cayugas lost.
Is Michael Bloomberg going after the tribes due to hate? Or is it because what the tribe is doing is ILLEGAL?
ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City sued eight Native American reservation stores on Long Island for not collecting the city's cigarette taxes, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday, demanding the governor enforce the law .
The anti-smoking independent who first developed a national reputation by banning smoking in bars and restaurants, equated cigarettes to murder and said Gov. David Paterson should use the state police and the national guard to collect the taxes.
"I think the governor should go to the reservation and say 'As of tomorrow morning, we are stopping this practice,' and if it requires law enforcement, that's what the governor has the state police for," Bloomberg said.
One reason New York City charges among the highest U.S. cigarette taxes is to encourage smokers to quit, and the mayor noted that kids respond quickly to changes in prices.
"This kills people; it isn't that far-fetched to compare the two," Bloomberg told reporters, drawing a parallel between smoking and murder. A carton of 200 cigarettes can cost as much as $70 and around half of that price is taxes, a city official said.
New York City can only seize cigarettes that lack tax stamps within its borders. The Poospatuck Reservation is located in Mastic, about 65 miles east of New York City on Long Island, and the city filed its suit in the federal court for New York's eastern district, seeking to force the tribe to collect taxes.
A tribal official was not immediately available. Nor were spokesman for the Democratic governor, the Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who last week said the state must collect these taxes to help close its deficit, and Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
New York's Native American tribes say their immunity from taxes springs from their status as sovereign nations. For more than a decade they have blocked the state's attempts to enforce the collection of cigarette taxes from reservation convenience stores despite a series of court battles and legislation.
Perhaps the last serious enforcement effort dates back to 1997, when former Republican Gov George Pataki backed down after 12 state troopers were injured during tire-burning protests by two upstate tribes.
Seeking to demonstrate how widespread the practice of reservation stores selling cigarettes to non-Native Americans has become, city spokesman Jason Post estimated that the stores on the Poospatuck Reservation sell 960 packs of cigarettes per day for each of the 260 tribal residents.
New York City says the tribal stores' failure to collect city cigarette taxes cost it $195 million a year. The city and state together lose $720 million a year in tax revenue from reservation sales.
A new federal law strengthens New York City's case because it makes it clear that states and local governments can bring these types of lawsuits, a city official said. He noted the city can take advantage of this provision, unlike a previous and largely unsuccessful lawsuit by a grocery store chain, which argued that the tribal stores were unfairly competing by not charging taxes.
Like the state, the city also must close a big hole in next year's budget, and Bloomberg noted that Wall Street will owe few taxes for several years, as banks and brokerages carry forward huge losses. (Reporting by Joan Gralla; Additional reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Tom Hals)
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