Plan to tax cigarette sales rejected

Smoking A federal appeals court in New York City has given another victory to Native American businesses who are trying to stop the state from taxing marlboro cigarettes sale.

But the court battle over the state’s effort to collect the taxes is far from over.

In a ruling late Thursday, the Second Circuit appeals court rejected a request from New York State lawyers, who asked that the state be allowed to collect the taxes while appeals are pending.

The state is trying to overturn orders previously filed by District Judge Richard J. Arcara in Buffalo and District Judge David N. Hurd in Utica, which are preventing the state from taxing cigarette sales from Indian- owned businesses to non-Indians.

“While this is not the end of the case, the appellate court’s decision maintains the status quo, and allows our businesses to continue for the near future,” Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter said on Friday.

State officials insist that the taxation effort is constitutional, and they have estimated that the state can collect $110 million in taxes during the first six months.

Judges from the Second Circuit will rule on the taxation issue, probably sometime within the 2011 calendar year, but many people on both sides of the fight believe it will go beyond the Second Circuit to the U. S. Supreme Court.

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