Gov's Indian Smokes Law Blocked in Court

Governor Paterson can't catch a break. Earlier the month, in an attempt to keep New Yorkers from buying tax-free Indian reservation cigarettes without stepping too hard on the tribes' toes, signed a bill forcing manufacturers to sign affidavits averring that they will not cause the sale unstamped, untaxed cigs to non-Indians -- making them legally responsible for the sale of Indian smokes to non-tribe members. The Native Americans still felt their toes stepped on, and now an Erie County judge has blocked the new law until the state can distribute "tax exemption coupons" to the reservations and give the tribes other protections of their treaty right to tax-free smokes.

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