We have been inveighing against the continuing arrogance of the tribes-particularly the Senecas-in refusing to follow the cigarette tax laws; and the NY Post has been in the forefront of the media's coverage of this contentious issue. The recent court delays have only fueled the Indian's sense of entitlement-not to mention their anti-tax coffers.
On Sunday, the Post mirrored our call for a strong governmental response to any Indian violence that might emanate from the state's enforcement effort: "Action from the courts is expected soon, but in the meantime the Senecas — the biggest cigarette retailers by far — are gearing up for battle. Tribal leaders are threatening to deny Albany millions in fees from casino operations if the cigarette tax goes into effect. The Seneca tribal council voted to withhold the roughly $64 million in slot fees it owes each year, using its revenues as a cudgel against the state. At the same time, some council members are hinting at possible violence — and a replay of 1992 and 1997, when the Senecas set fires on the state Thruway and attacked state troopers who entered the reservation to collect the smoke tax."
Well, if the Senecas want sovereignty, then these actions would amount to a declaration of war-and should be met with a strong, swift governmental response: "When the court orders expire, Gov. Paterson says, tax collectors will avoid trespassing on Indian territory and will instead tax the wholesalers who provide tribes with cigarettes in the first place. We hope it’s enough, and that the matter will soon be settled peaceably. But if the Senecas do resort to violence, then Paterson needs to respond quickly and with appropriate sanctions. If that means sending state troopers to the reservations — and simply barring public access to tribal casinos that ignore their tax-collection responsibilities — then so be it."
And the Post goes on to emphasize the double edged sword comment that we-along with State Senator Kruger-had made about the Indians so called sovereignty. We'll give the paper the last word:
"The Senecas may comprise, as they contend, a sovereign nation — but they also have their hands out when it comes to taxpayer-funded school aid, Medicaid assistance and other tax-funded social programs.That is, they are sovereign when it comes to meeting tax obligations — but not at all when it comes to consuming tax dollars.
It’s long past time for this charade to come to an end.
We trust that Paterson will see that it does."