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Judge Blocks Part Of NY Tax On Indian Cigarettes


CATTARAUGUS TERRITORY, IRVING, N.Y. -- Federal Western District Court Judge Richard J. Arcaralate has granted the Seneca Nation of Indians request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which blocks New York Statefrom initiating collection of taxes on Native American-sold tobacco products on Sept. 1.

Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry E. Snyder Sr. declared Judge Richard Arcara's ruling a landmark victory in the Nation's long fight to protect its sovereign, federal treaty rights.

"Judge Arcara's ruling sets the stage for an orderly and thoughtful legal review of what we believe is an illegal, ill-conceived attempt by New York State to use the Seneca Nation, and other Indian Nations located within its boundaries, as piggy banks to balance the State Budget," Snyder said.

The Seneca Nation filed its federal lawsuit against New York State on August 17, but simultaneously asked state officials to postpone its planned Sept. 1 start to enforcement to give the court time to decide the legality of the tax in an expedited review.  Absent response from the State, the Nation filed a request for a temporary restraining order on Aug. 20.

The Seneca Nation today also filed a motion with the State Appellate Division in Rochester to appeal the Aug. 30 ruling by State Supreme Court Justice Donna M. Siwek in the "Day Wholesale v. New York State" case.  In that matter, the Nation charges the State made procedural errors by issuing enforcement regulations without allowing sufficient time for public comment or meeting other requirements for emergency regulations.



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