Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb Applauds Federal Appeals Court Decision To Throw Out Native American Cigarette Tax Injunction

May 9, 2011

New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) commended the decision by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out an injunction preventing collection of taxes on cigarettes sold on Native American Lands to non-Native American Indians. Kolb characterized it as a “victory for law-abiding, taxpaying citizens.”

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals is a major triumph for New York,” said Kolb. “The Judges are right – no person or group is above the law. The Court’s verdict mirrored what I have been saying all along, the Native American claims have no merit. It is time to enforce the law and collect the taxes.”

The Court dismissed the tribal arguments based on the following:

  • Collection of the tax does not impose an economic burden on tribal retailers;
  • The system of collection does not interfere with their rights of self-government; and
  • While federal law prohibits New York from taxing cigarette sales to members of the tribe, the state is able to tax cigarettes sold to non-Native Americans.

“Fair collection of sales taxes on cigarettes will create a level playing field for mom-and-pop convenience stores across New York. I commend the Court’s decision – impartiality and equal treatment are at the very core of our system of justice,” Kolb concluded.