Friday, November 02, 2007

Indian Giver

As if the governor didn't have enough tsuris, he now takes another controversial position-this time on the Native Americans right to sell cigarettes without charging any taxes. In this morning's NY Times we find that Spitzer has renegged on his promise-we should know since we were in the meeting-to enforce the law on these sales.

Now as AG he was firm that the state's right to insure that Native American sellers are put on the same plane as all other retailers in the state was settled law-and he told us that, once elected, he would do just that. Instead: "The governor had promised during the election to begin collecting the taxes during the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31, but the administration revealed in its latest budget forecast yesterday that it was no longer planning on the $200 million coming in from the collections."

Which is really bad news for all of those convenience store operators who are losing their shirts to the unfair competition. The Spitzer announcement brought this response from Jim Calvin, the mead of the New York Association of Convenience Stores: "(Spitzer) promised during the campaign and vowed in the early days of his administration to follow through and restore the level playing field for all retailers of tobacco and motor fuel," said James Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores."

So this becomes just another example of the mercurial nature of the governor-shedding promises like a sheep being clipped of its wool. As the Buffalo News reported today: "Spitzer was steadfast in the past about the state's rights in the matter. "The notion that somehow the anomaly is New York trying to collect these taxes is just wrong. Virtually every other state collects them, and it is proper that we do so," he said in an interview earlier this year."