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Mohawks on tobacco tax: "sit down with us"

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On Monday, Governor Paterson signed a bill to enforce collection of taxes on cigarettes sold at native-owned stores. Supporters say the law will bring the state anywhere from 60 million to almost a billion dollars in new revenue. But it's highly unlikely that money would do anything to help close next year's massive budget deficit. According to the Buffalo News, Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder says Governor Paterson himself said the new law is "flawed" and "political." Native tribes across New York have vowed to fight the law in court, saying it violates their sovereignty. Jim Ransom, chief of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in Akwesasne, says it also would make the economy worse and deepen an already grave smuggling problem. Ransom told David Sommerstein a loss of cigarette sales would affect 400 to 500 people in and around the reservation between Massena and Malone.

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