SALT Report 2511 – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement has been reached between the state of New York and the Oneida Nation of Indians. The agreement will require the Nation to observe the minimum pricing standards for cigarettes and to impose a Nation sales tax that is equal to or exceeds the New York state and county sales, use, and occupancy taxes on cigarettes, motor fuel, and all other sales by Indian retailers to non-Indians.
In return, the agreement will end 20 years of litigation over land claims by setting a permanent cap of 25,000 acres to land that could be under the Nation’s sovereignty. The agreement will also give the Oneida Nation exclusive rights to casino gaming in Central New York. However, the Nation will be required to apportion 25% of its gaming revenue from slot machines to the State. Based on current Oneida gaming revenues, this would result in approximately $50 million annually that will be distributed to the State, Oneida County, and Madison County.
Additionally, the Oneida Nation has agreed to waive its sovereign immunity for the enforcement of the agreement; instead, the settlement will give Federal courts authority over the agreement. The agreement also requires the Nation to undergo an independent assessment to ensure compliance with all minimum tax and pricing requirements which will be reported to the State.
Certain portions of the settlement will require legislative approval, approvals by Madison County and Oneida County, the Department of the Interior, the New York State Attorney General, and judicial approval. The agreement will not go into effect until these approvals are granted.
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