See, the State Tax Man Cometh

Last month, Indian Country Today Media Network has published a column by Gabe Galanda, "The State Taxman Cometh." Consider now this headline, "Tax man eyes Indian tobacco sales."

The state's top tax collector said the state is ready to quickly end tax-free cigarette sales by Indian retailers to non-Indian customers.

New York State is awaiting a ruling from a federal appeals court on the long-simmering tobacco tax issue, said Thomas Mattox, who was confirmed Tuesday by the State Senate to the tax commissioner's post.

"We're prepared to enforce immediately," Mattox said after being unanimously backed by the Senate Finance Committee for the tax post. . . .

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is counting on $130 million in revenue by ending the tax-free Indian tobacco sales. The state wants to collect the tax "upstream" at the tobacco wholesale level so that the taxes already would have been paid to Albany by the time cigarettes reach Indian retailers.

Expect to see many more news stories about state and local tax collectors seeking to balance state budgets on the backs of Indians.

Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian majority-owned law firm.  He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California.  He can be reached at 206.691.3631 or, or via