Seneca Falls- New York State Senator Mike Nozzolio blasted Governor Paterson’s veto of legislation that would restore the New York State Legislature's oversight and approval of any agreement or compact with representatives of the Indian Nations in New York State.
“Despite warnings from myself and my colleagues, the Democratic Majority that now controls the State Legislature, approved legislation that Governor Paterson included in his last budget extender giving the Governor and all future governors, the power to negotiate a compact or agreement with representatives of New York's Indian Nations without legislative approval. This legislation essentially empowers the Governor to negotiate unilaterally and eliminates the Legislature from having any oversight or approval of the decisions the Governor makes.” said Senator Nozzolio.
In an effort to correct their mistake, members of the Senate Democratic Majority introduced legislation to amend the Governor's bill, stripping the Governor of this power. The legislation, which was adopted by both the State Assembly and State Senate, was VETOED last week by Governor Paterson.
Governor Paterson clearly intends to gain total control over all Indian matters, including casinos, property rights and taxation issues. In his veto message, Governor Paterson stated, "Enacting such a measure would have a negative impact on the productive negotiations my Administration has been engaged in with the leadership and representatives of the various Indian Nations and tribes in New York with who the state is engaged in federal court litigation."
Senator Nozzolio strongly disagrees with the Governor's position and contends that no negotiations should be taking place between the Governor and representatives of the Indian Nations without full transparency and disclosure.
Senator Nozzolio is now calling upon members of both the Senate and Assembly to work together in a bipartisan manner to override Governor Paterson’s veto. Senator Nozzolio stated, “The people of New York State deserve to be fully informed of any proposal which impacts New York State taxpayers. No one, including Governor Paterson, or any future Governor, should have the power to negotiate a compact or agreement without the Legislature's review and approval. ”
Senator Nozzolio has been outspoken on the need to collect taxes on cigarettes sold by Native American businesses to non-Native Americans. Senator Nozzolio sponsored and enacted the original legislation in 2008 calling for the collection of these taxes. Small businesses all across the State continue to suffer as a result of the New York State's refusal to collect sales tax from Indian businesses who sell their products to non-native Americans.
“Governor Paterson is attempting to take away any oversight or legislative approval of his negotiations with members of the Indian Nations in New York State. I urge my colleagues to understand the enormity of this issue and work to override this dangerous decision by Governor Paterson," Senator Nozzolio concluded.