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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) is launching a three-week television commercial to express its concerns over the inaction on Governor Spitzer's part to collect taxes on cigarettes and gas sold by Native American retailers to non-Native Americans in New York State.
The 60-second commercial, which began airing yesterday, is being shown initially in Syracuse, Albany and Buffalo. The ads are paid for by NYACS, which has fought to level the playing field between Native American and non-Native American retailers.
By not collecting taxes, Native American retailers have a price advantage of as much as $30 per carton of cigarettes, NYACS stated. A law passed on March 1, 2006, called for the government to collect taxes from Native American retailers.
"Governor Spitzer pledged that on Day One, everything would change," James Calvin, NYACS president, said in a written statement. "But on the tax collection issue, nothing has. Respectfully, our members think six months has been long enough to wait for Day One to arrive."
The TV commercial states that Governor Spitzer repeatedly said he intends to collect the taxes, and even included $200 million in new revenue in the 2007 state budget generated from those taxes.
"NYACS takes no joy in criticizing the Governor in this manner, in fact we are saddened and disappointed," added Calvin. "As Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer was a champion of tax fairness. As a gubernatorial candidate, he vowed to collect the taxes. As Governor, however, his initial tough talk about enforcement gave way to trying to negotiate a split in tax revenue with the tribes, which has yielded no progress to date. The law is the law. When is it going to be enforced?"
The commercial, which can be viewed at http://www.nyacs.org/TVad7-07.htm, also asks viewers to send emails urging Spitzer to enforce the tax collection law.
The estimated cost to run the television campaign is $27,000. "Since we don’t operate multimillion-dollar casinos like our Native American competitors, and because so many customers have deserted our stores for tax-free outlets, we lack the resources for a big media campaign," concluded Calvin. "But we felt it was important to speak up for hard-working, tax-collecting retailers who continue to suffer the ill effects of state-sanctioned tax evasion."