Monday, August 25, 2008


In last Friday's Buffalo News there was some disappointing-although unsurprising-news. It appears that Governor Paterson may be about to do what most of his recent successors have tried to do-and failed: negotiate with the tribes on their failure to collect the taxes on cigarette tax sales: "Gov. David A. Paterson insists the state has a legal right to collect taxes on Indian retailer cigarette sales but says he wants to negotiate with the tribes to end the years-long stalemate instead of trying to force an immediate halt to the tax-free sales."

And why, if he admittedly has the legal right to do so, is Paterson going this route? One answer: fear. AS the News points out: "In his most extensive remarks on a subject that has stymied a long line of governors before him, Paterson on Wednesday suggested that fear of violence by Native American protesters is driving part of his decision to take a slower route than the State Legislature is demanding."

So all it takes now not to pay your taxes is the threat of violence? Where's a good old fashion, "Make My Day," when you need it? This is all so sad-and the tax payers and small store owners are the victims here. A growing coalition of groups is gearing up to fight. Here's a portion of an ad that the coalition ran in the Albany Times Union:

Using National demographics of cigarette consumption and New York tax rates, New York consumers are estimated to smoke 100
million cartons. By Government ‘biting the bullet’ and collecting the taxes on Native American sales to non tribal members as prescribed
by law and increasing our enforcement of tax collection, we will tax 90 million of the 100 million cartons this year.

The New Math
State Excise Tax: (90 million cartons x $27.50) = $2,475,000,000
City Excise Tax: (30 million cartons x $15.00) = $450,000,000
Average Sales Tax: (90 million cartons x $5.00) = $450,000,000
• $1,605,000,000 will be added to our tax rolls.
• Criminal and Terrorist cigarette funding will be decimated.
• Our State Laws will be enforced as intended.
• New York Business and our economy will be uplifted.
• Fairness and a level playing field will be restored.
• Valued State and City Services will be permitted to continue.

This Solution is a ‘no-brainer’!

Nothing could be clearer to us; and if the governor doesn't come to his senses this grass roots effort will metastasize to his great detriment. Not under the threat of violence! It's no wonder that the tribes are smiling. As the News points out: "Native American leaders, who have been hearing a growing number of legislators and others pressing Paterson to collect the tax to help raise revenues to reduce the state’s budget deficit, sounded relieved Tuesday evening." Indeed they are; it's the rest of us New Yorkers that are not. As the old Country and Western song goes: "The tribes got the gold mine; tax payers got the shaft."