NY Retailers Sue Governor Over Cigarette Taxes

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NY Retailers Sue Governor Over Cigarette Taxes

ALBANY, N.Y.--New York convenience store operators on Tuesday sued Gov. George Pataki to compel him to enforce a new law requiring tax collection on tobacco products and gasoline sold to Indian businesses, reported the Associated Press.

The New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) said in the report that Pataki's failure to collect taxes on the goods before they reach the reservations costs taxpayers $450 million a year and costs businesses $1 billion a year.

NYACS President James Calvin said Pataki is "flouting his constitutional duties" by not enforcing the law, which took effect March 1. Businesses located near reservations say they suffer a competitive disadvantage because they must charge substantially higher prices, according to AP.

"This is an issue that has crippled the convenience store industry and is getting progressively worse," Calvin told AP. "If there is going to be a tax on these products, let's administer them fairly, let's administer them equally."

State tax Commissioner Andrew Eristoff earlier this year said that he wouldn't enforce the law until Pataki had more time to settle the long-standing land claims of several tribes, reported AP. That delay, however, was rejected by the Legislature.

An attempt to collect cigarette taxes resulted in violence in the 1990s when the tribes moved to protect their sovereignty.