“Gov. David Paterson is directing in his budget plan that the Department of Taxation & Finance drop its policy of holding off on a plan to make sure Indian cigarette retailers sell taxed cigarettes. Paterson is telling T&F to end its Pataki-era policy of “forbearance.” The department is being asked to plan to make sure that the Indian merchants, who believe they are free to sell untaxed products, be required to get tax stamps on each pack of cigarettes sold….Budget Director Bob Megna thinks $218 million might arrive from increasing the tax on cigarettes….Efforts to tax Indian sales in the past resulted in protests and, in some cases, violent demonstrations along Indian reservations, particularly in western New York. Any plan to tax cigarettes would have to come with the expectation of substantial commitment of resources by the State Police as hundreds of troopers would be assigned to the Seneca territory alone, state officials have said. Paterson said he will try to direct his plan “in a peaceful and efficient manner.”
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