Seneca Chamber Urges Collection of Sales Tax

The Seneca County Chamber of Commerce supports all efforts to enforce New York State tax law in collecting sales and excise taxes on cigarette sales at American-Indian businesses, including legislation recently sponsored by Senator Michael Nozzolio, which would require the cigarette wholesalers to pre-pay the tax. Pre-payment would ensure that sales taxes would be collected on the sale of goods, with costs to be passed on to American-Indian businesses, helping to level the playing field with other retailers. The legislation, S.8146, has been passed by both houses of the Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. For far too long, businesses and taxpayers in Seneca County and statewide have suffered unjustly due to the failure of our Governors and the New York State Tax Department to enforce existing laws and collect these taxes. Local businesses continue to face unfair competition while local and state government struggle to meet budget demands due to revenue shortfalls. Governor Paterson’s recent suggestion that taxes may have to be increased to make up for these shortfalls when there are millions of dollars in sales taxes not being collected from these businesses is a slap in the face to New York business owners and taxpayers. While the currently proposed legislation would be a step in the right direction to generating much needed revenues and helping to level the playing field with other businesses, the Chamber would hope that, by signing this legislation into law, the Governor would engage in further dialogue to have these American-Indian businesses operate under the existing letter of the law. The Chamber acknowledges that this legislation would create additional, and unfair, hardship for the distributors, who have done nothing wrong. The Governor is urged to enforce all laws that apply equally to these businesses when dealing with non-tribal customers. The time has come to send a clear message that attempts to circumvent the law are unjustified and will not be tolerated.

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