Oneida Nation to produce more Indian cigarettes; not pay sales tax on name brands

Oneida Indian Nation C.O.O. Peter Carmen says the Oneida Indian Nation will produce and sell more of their own brands of cigarettes and not pay for name brand cigarettes that carry a state sales tax.

According to Carmen, the Oneida Indian Nation moved its cigarette manufacturing facility out of Western, N.Y. and to the City of Oneida, N.Y. in the former bingo hall of Territory Road. The goal is to be up and running by mid September, Carmen said.

With the manufacturing facility, the Oneida Nation will be able to produce and sell their own cigarettes without paying state sales tax, Carmen said.

“The federal law preempts state efforts to tax products manufactured and sold on Indian nations,” Carmen said.

After September 1, the day the cigarette distributors are supposed to tax Indian nations on cigarettes they buy, it is “up in the air” as to whether or not the Oneida Nation will purchase name brand cigarettes.

“To the extent that a distributor feels compelled by the new statute to embed a tax on any products that it delivers to the Oneida Nation, the Oneida Nation will not participate in that,” Carmen said.

The Oneida Indian Nation will sell only what is left of the name brand stock.

According to Carmen, the average pack of Indian cigarettes cost about $3.90 – roughly $5 less than name brand packs.

Nation officials say they are unsure if their decision will affect sales.

“It is not really a commercial decision for the Oneida Nation,” Carmen said. “It is a legal policy and political decision for the Oneida Nation. Governments don’t tax other governments and it would be wholly inappropriate for the State of New York to tax products that are being sold on the Oneida Indian Nation reservation.”


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