Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today he wants to move forward with a plan to collect taxes from the sale of cigarettes on Indian reservations.
The plan, which was approved by the state Legislature last year after the urging of Gov. David Paterson, has been stuck in limbo after legal challenges arose. Cuomo was speaking in Jamestown in western New York as part of his “Take It to The People” tour.
Cuomo also met with the president of the Seneca Nation of Indians, Robert Porter. Cuomo said the meeting was a “good conversation and I’m looking forward to more good conversations.”
“Overall the relationship is working well from the state’s point of view,” he said, noting the state’s estimated $10 billion budget gap for the coming 2011-12 fiscal year, which begins April 1. “I want to make sure we are going to collect all the money that we’re entitled to and I understand Mr. Porter’s point and I hope we can work it through.”
“I intend to collect all the revenue the state is entitled to,” he added.
The Seneca Nation of Indians had no immediate response to the specific remarks, but did release a statement from Porter on the meeting with Cuomo: “I’m pleased to see Gov. Cuomo focus on the particular needs of Western New York with his initiatives. The Seneca Nation has created 4,000 jobs in Western New York in the last decade, more than anyone else in our region. When the state is willing to recognize our treaty rights and sovereignty and avoid unnecessary confrontations, we are able to create more jobs for our people, and all of the residents of this region.”