A New York State appeals court has upheld a 2010 law that requires Native American tribes to collect sales tax on cigarette sales. Although the Seneca Tribe just secured a three-week stay on the decision late today, it looks like the nearly $5 tax is coming soon to a pack near you.
For the Shinnecock Nation, which is just a skip away from Southampton Village, a ban on tax-free cigarettes could be particularly devastating as its smoke shops are the largest employers of its 1200 members and they'll have a hard time competing when their significant price advantage evaporates.
The Shinnecocks might try to exploit a loophole in the law that says goods made and sold on tribal areas are exempt from being taxed (read: cigarette factory!), although most suspect the court ruling will simply force the tribe to just accelerate their plans to open a casino somewhere.
But for us, we like the idea of fewer cigarette butts on the beach and a place to play baccarat on the drive back to Manhattan, so maybe this situation isn't so dire after all.
· Court Bans Sale Of Tax-Free Cigarettes By Tribes [27 East]
· Why The Ban On Tax Free Indian Cigarettes Guarantees A Shinnecock Casino [Dan's Papers]
· Tribe secures stay in New York cigarette tax battle [Reuters]
· All Previous Shinnecock Nation Coverage [Curbed Hamptons]