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Governor Delays Sales Tax Collections from Native American Retailers

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Governor Spitzer is delaying plans to collect taxes on sales by Native American retailers to non-Indians.

This year's state budget included $200 million in revenue from the tax collection. Administration officials acknowledge the delay will add to the revenue problems the state is facing. A new state budget report released yesterday predicts a $4.3 billion budget deficit in the state's next fiscal year.

The delay in the collection of Indian taxes is being criticized by the New York State Association of Convenience Stores. Association Director James Calvin says this is just the latest in a long line of disappointments.

Calvin says convenience store owners near reservation retailers are at a competitive disadvantage because of the lower prices Native Americans offer on cigarettes and gasoline.

Seneca President Maurice John commended Spitzer for honoring their sovereignty.

An administration official says the earliest the state will try to collect the taxes is next April.