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Old 12-27-2004, 10:21 PM   #1
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REservation Sales-Tax Bill Dies

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FROM: THE UTICA OBSERVER-DISPATCH NEWSPAPER

http://www.uticaod.com/archive/2004/...ews/15882.html

Reservation Sales-Tax Bill Dies

Senate leader: Would impede negotiations on casinos, lawsuits
Thu, Dec 23, 2004

YANCEY ROY
O-D Albany bureau

ALBANY -- A controversial bill to force the collection of sales taxes on
gasoline and cigarettes sold on Native American reservations is dead. For this
year.

The state Senate Wednesday declined to override Gov. George Pataki's veto of
the measure. The Senate leader said he didn't want the tax issue to impede
negotiations between the governor and tribes over casinos and land-claim
lawsuits.

Tax-collection proponents, who came to the Capitol Wednesday hoping for
different outcome, denounced the decision.

"It's dead for this year and we're extremely disappointed," said Jim Calvin
of the Association of Convenience Stores. "We got to the one-yard-line but we
couldn't push it over the goal line."

A Pataki spokesman called the Senate decision "encouraging."

The long-running tax issue is no small matter: Hundreds of millions of
dollars are at stake. On one side are convenience stores that compete with the
reservations and state legislators who view the taxes as a way of helping to pay
for the state budget. Joining them are anti-smoking groups that want to see
cigarettes made more expensive -- the state tax is $1.50 per pack.

On the other are customers who enjoy the cheaper prices and Native American
tribes that insist the bill would intrude on their sovereignty.

The Senate and Assembly in June passed a bill ordering the collection. Pataki
vetoed it in November, just as he has balked at previous legislative demands
to impose the taxes. The Legislature had until the end of the year to
override.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, said he didn't want to have
a negative impact on casino-land talks. J
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