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    New York Tribes Protest Taxes

    Seneca Nation will seek federal injunction.

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Businesses on New York Native American reservations could be imperiled if cigarette and gasoline tax regulations go into effect Dec. 1, say Indian nation officials, according to the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle.

    "Nobody would travel to the territories to purchase any goods" if Native American shops have to raise their prices to include tax, said Rickey L. Armstrong Sr., president of the Seneca Nation of Indians, which governs three reservations in southwestern New York, the news report stated.

    On cigarettes, many Indian smoke shops pass the $1.50-per-pack tax savings directly on to customers.

    Even more important than the loss of a competitive edge, say Native Americans, is their right to conduct their own affairs without state interference, according to the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle.

    "We oppose the state of New York trying to unilaterally impose their laws on sovereign nations," said Clint Halftown, chief and spokesman of the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York, the newspaper reported.

    While each of the nations is attempting to negotiate changes before the regulations take effect, some have hinted that if negotiation doesn't work, individuals might again blockade interstate highways that run through reservations, which has happened during past tax conflicts. Armstrong said on Thursday that the nation would seek a federal injunction against the state to prevent tax collections.

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