Kolb Applauds Land-Claim Decision by U.S. Supreme Court

April 1, 2005

Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of the City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation. In its 8-1 decision for the city of Sherrill, the Supreme Court concluded that the Oneida Nation cannot expand its sovereign territories merely by purchasing more land from the general public.

"This decision is a huge victory for so many taxpayers," Kolb said. "I’m pleased that the courts have sided with Sherrill and with New York state. Hopefully, this decision will help bring a speedy end to the land claims that have caused so many New Yorkers years of heartache."

In its decision, the Supreme Court stated that tribes should not receive tax-free status for non-Indian land purchased outside the original, designated reservation. This decision is particularly relevant to Cayuga County municipalities because they claim Indian tribes owe about $130,000 in property taxes, said Kolb.

"In addition to the revenue for our counties and the state, this decision will help ease the worries of residents within the land-claim area," Kolb noted. "Assured that they will no longer be forced to leave their homes and properties, residents in Cayuga and Seneca counties can feel secure in their homes and businesses."

Assemblyman Kolb revealed the land-claim issue is high on many residents’ list of issues identified in his recently released 2005 Constituent Survey. Kolb’s staff continues to tabulate the results in advance of a final report.

"Many of my constituents who responded to the survey were despondent about the land-claim issue. This ruling should give them some piece of mind," said Kolb.