Gov. David Paterson is promising to begin collecting state taxes next week on cigarettes sold by American Indian retail businesses to most smokers in New York.
In an interview today on New York radio station WOR-AM, Paterson says taxes will be collected from wholesalers sending cigarettes to the tribes. He says state troopers will be kept off the reservations to avoid trouble.
The state plans to collect $4.35 per pack sales tax on cigarettes sold by Native American retailers to non-Indian customers beginning Sept. 1. The tax is expected to generate about $200 million a year in revenues for the state.
The Seneca and Mohawk tribes are seeking federal court orders to stop the collection, claiming it would violate their rights.
Paterson says officials will enforce taxes when anyone brings unstamped cigarettes off the reservations.