ALBANY After decades of delay, New York State has started collecting taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products sold by Indian operated companies. But, the state is not collecting taxes on tobacco products made by Indian owned companies on Indian land. Should it?

Inspections at 357 retailers by state and federal law enforcement led to seizures of almost 20,000 cartons of cigarettes and nearly 25,000 cigars over the last three weeks. Officials say the products weren’t properly taxed. State officials valued the goods at $1.2 million.

Enforcement will continue to include inspections of retailers and stopping vehicles carrying tobacco products.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the tax enforcement on the huge Indian run enterprises will generate $27 million in revenue for the state this fiscal year.

“It also levels the playing field for businesses around the state as well… hopefully it gets even more level in the future,” added Lt. Governor Robert Duffy.

State officials won’t at this time try to tax cigarettes manufactured by Indian owned companies. The Oneida Indian Nation commented on that in a statement to the media Friday, saying Federal law completely preempts state efforts to tax any products, including cigarettes, which are manufactured and sold by an Indian nation on its own reservation. The State is aware that the Nation continues to sell its own brands in all of its own stores, including its SavOn convenience stores and Turning Stone Resort Casino. Additionally, the Nation continues to sell off its existing inventory of non Indian national brands while supplies last.”

Tribes argue treaties exempt them from taxation, but courts have sided with New York. Which side do you agree with?

We want to know what you think of this debate. Leave a comment below and give us your opinion.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. – brand new electronic cigarettes johnston variety store owner pleads to selling unstamped cigarettes

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