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ALBANY -- A lawsuit brought by the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) against Governor George Pataki, his tax commissioner and wholesale distributors was dismissed by New York State Supreme Court Justice E. Michael Kavanaugh.
The lawsuit claimed wholesale distributors that illegally supply tax-free cigarettes to Native American retailers were not being punished by the governor or his commissioner. NYACS claims that the distributors are breaking a law that took effect on March 1, which required the state to collect taxes on motor fuel and cigarettes that were sold by Native Americans to non-Native Americans. Native Americans do not charge tax on those items when sold to other Native Americans, but must when selling to others.
Kavanaugh ruled that NYACS and its partners in the suit -- Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes of Canastota, N.Y. and MWS Enterprises of East Amherst, N.Y. -- lacked legal standing to bring such a lawsuit. Because of this, the lawsuit claims were not resolved.
"We're kind of puzzled," said NYACS president James Calvin, "If the chief elected official of the state doesn’t feel like enforcing a law that was duly enacted by the legislature, and the chief law enforcement official of the state defends that defiance of the constitution, then who does have standing to challenge it in court?"
Calvin stated that it's unknown as of now whether NYACS will appeal the legal standing decision, but that "NYACS will never abandon our quest for tax fairness for licensed convenience stores."