With Bloomberg already besieged by protests and angry letters calling for an apology over his offensive "cowboys and Indians" statement, Governor Paterson says he is worried about possible "violence and death" over the state's plan to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations. Paterson said, "There will be quite an uprising and protest to this, but I am going to maintain this policy...The state police tell us over and over again that there could be violence and death as a result of some of the measures we're taking."
Meanwhile, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Arcara has reserved his decision on whether to grant the Seneca Nation of Indians a temporary restraining order against New York State's enforcement of the new tax laws. But whether or not the order is granted, the Seneca seem ready for a fight. One post on the Seneca Voice blog reads, "Lets start setting up some fires here and there just to let the public know that we are serious and we are ready to battle if this is what it is going to come to."
Because of the impending tax collection, the Onondaga Nation says they will most likely stop selling national brand cigarettes at the beginning of September. Lawyer Joe Heath told Syracuse.com, “Unless something changes, as of Sept. 1 we won’t be able to sell major brands that are untaxed. It doesn’t make that much sense to sell them at the same price as people can get them at the convenience store across the street." Instead, they will sell only Indian-made brands, and Paterson seems fine with that plan. “They can make their own cigarettes and they can sell the cigarettes on the reservation as they are entitled to by federal law. Once they come off, or anyone else comes off, of their sacred land with cigarettes that are not being taxed by New York state, we are going to address that issue."