BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - There's plenty of anger among smokers and the Seneca Nation about plans in Albany to hike the cigarette tax and collect it on reservations.
Monday's emergency spending bill will include a plan to increase New York State Cigarette Tax up to $4.35, making it the highest in the nation.
"Beaurocratic crap, that's what I call it!"
Christopher Seagrave smokes cigarettes. He's upset and says he is not alone.
"Everyone I talk to is pissed off at the Governor for all this crap he's trying to pull," said Christopher.
Governor Paterson's latest emergency spending bill includes a new cigarette tax. Lawmakers said it will add $1.60 per pack and raise $440 million to help balance the state's budget. The state has to close a 9.2 billion dollar defecit.
There's also an increase on chewing tobacco, cigars, pipe tobacco, and other tobacco products.
Lawmakers also plan to collect taxes on Indian Cigarettes sold to non-Indians.
J.C. Seneca is part of the Seneca Nation. His message to Albany is loud and clear.
"We've been looking for somebody to stand up in Albany once and for all and say to the legislature, to say to the Governor that enough is enough. Leave the Indian nations alone. Respect their sovereignty, respect their treaties, and live up to their word, and keep their word," said Seneca.
This is not the first time lawmakers threatened to tax the Senecas.
Seagrave reminded News 4 of a particular event.
"And for him to do that, it would probably go back to when the Indians were burning the tires," said Seagrave.
Back in 1997, when former Governor Pataki tried collecting taxes from the Senecas, protestors burned tires and blocked the New York State Thruway.
What will happen now?
"The Seneca nation will stand and fight and defend its peoples rights," J.C. Seneca expressed.
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