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News stories tagged with "tobacco"

Report ties organized crime, drugs to Akwesasne tobacco trafficking

A new report details the billion dollar trafficking of untaxed cigarettes into Canada from the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation near Massena. The investigation by the Center for Public Integrity documented 5 to 10 unlicensed tobacco factories in Akwesasne and on the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal.

Smugglers carry cigarettes across the Canadian border and sell them in Ontario and Quebec for $20 a carton. A legally taxed carton costs $80 to $90. The Canadian government estimates it is losing $1.6 billion a year in taxes while health care costs associated with smoking are rising. William Marsden of the Montreal Gazette reported the story. He told David Sommerstein the tobacco smuggling has attracted more organized crime and drugs to an already porous region of the U.S.-Canada border.  Go to full article

Mohawks on tobacco tax: "sit down with us"

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.  Go to full article
1,200 shoes arranged in piles and paths in the "No More Empty Shoes" exhibit.
1,200 shoes arranged in piles and paths in the "No More Empty Shoes" exhibit.

Art with a message: don?t smoke

The art gallery at Ogdensburg Free Academy is filled with shoes. The 1,200 tattered sneakers, shiny pumps and faded work boots represent the number of people who die everyday from smoking and tobacco use. The shoes are part of the new art exhibit, No More Empty Shoes, that opens at the school Friday. Organizers hope the strong visual images send a message to teens on the dangers of tobacco. Todd Moe has more.  Go to full article

Mohawks pursue tobacco tax deal

In February, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe came closer than ever to building a glitzy casino in the Catskills. They signed a compact for the gaming resort with Governor Spitzer. At the same time, two of the three Mohawk chiefs signed another document. It was a letter agreeing to pursue a "trade agreement" with New York on the sale of untaxed cigarettes and gasoline on the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation near Massena. The Mohawk chiefs were in Albany last week for talks with Governor Spitzer. As David Sommerstein reports, tribes and non-native business owners across New York are watching carefully.  Go to full article

Spitzer vows to collect tobacco tax

Martha Foley reports on Governor Spitzer's response to a state court's ruling on a law that would require the state to collect taxes on non-natives who buy cigarettes at native-owned stores.  Go to full article

R.J. Reynolds to end sales of flavored cigarettes

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Attorneys General from 37 other states have reached an agreement with the R.J. Reynolds Company to ban the sale of candy-flavored cigarettes. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article

Anti-Smoking Groups Press for More Money

Anti-smoking groups are urging the legislature to adopt Governor Pataki's plan to fully fund the Health Department's tobacco use reduction program. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article

Canton Considers Underage Smoking Law

The Village of Canton is considering a law to fine kids for smoking. The St Lawrence County Tobacco Free Coalition proposed the measure to the Village Board. It would levy fines of $50-75 to anyone under age 18 caught smoking in public. A public hearing on the proposed no smoking ordinance will take place January 23 at the Canton Municipal Building. Mayor Bob Wells says it started with complaints about young smokers outside Canton's elementary school.  Go to full article

NY to Crackdown on Internet Cigarette Sales

The State Tax Commissioner says the Pataki Administration will crack down on residents who buy tax-free cigarettes over the Internet on web sites run by Native American tribes. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article
All smiles at King's Marina, Syne (Missy King, right)
All smiles at King's Marina, Syne (Missy King, right)

Tax Threatens Mohawk Entrepreneurs

When one thinks of business on the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation near Massena, casinos, cigarettes, and gas stations usually come to mind. Because native people are exempt from taxation, those commodities have been rare bright lights in an otherwise bleak economic picture in Indian Country. A new federal tax regulation threatens to devastate Akwesasne's gas station industry. As David Sommerstein reports, it may also endanger a fragile entrepreneurial economy that's sprouting up alongside the mainstays.  Go to full article

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