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    NYACS Shook-Up after Tobacco Taxation Veto

    Supporters of the tax collection fairness bill call it a "temporary setback."

    ALBANY, N.Y. -- Supporters -- including the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) -- were disappointed in Governor George Pataki's veto of a bill that prohibited manufacturers from providing tobacco to distributors that are known for providing unstamped cigarettes to Native American tribes.

    "We're dismayed, but given Governor Pataki's abysmal record on this issue, we're not surprised," said James Calvin, president of NYACS. "The reality, however, is that anything Mr. Pataki does or says on the tax fairness issue is no longer relevant."

    The fight is not over, however. The state legislature could override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote in both houses. When the legislature returns in September, NYACS plans to lobby for a vote at that time.

    "The Legislature, the Attorney General, and the community of law-abiding manufacturers, distributors and retailers are determined to remedy this problem without him," Calvin added.

    Another setback comes in the form of a temporary restraining order in a New York Supreme Court case involving Day Wholesale, a distributor that is charged with supplying untaxed cigarettes to Native American tribes.

    The restraining order will be in effect until Sept. 25, when defendants, including Day Wholesale, the Attorney General's Office and the State of New York, will discuss the case's merits to Judge Sconiers. The restraining order bans the state from enforcing the law against supplying retailers with untaxed cigarettes, as well as banning the Attorney General from claiming that the sales of untaxed products violates the law, which went into effect in March.

    But NYACS president James Calvin remains optimistic, and stated in a release, "The veto can be overridden by the Legislature, and the restraining order can be lifted by the judge after hearing argument. The tax collection law is still in effect, even though the Governor is shirking his responsibility to enforce it."

    In related news, there has been no decision from State Supreme Court Justice E. Michael Kavanaugh in a lawsuit filed by NYACS that seeks an order to implement the new tax collection law. The suit was filed against Gov. Pataki, state Tax Commissioner Andrew Eristoff, Day Wholesale and other cigarette distributors that allegedly supply Native American stores with untaxed cigarettes.

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