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Florida Indian tribes levying cigarette tax  

Smokers who relied on Indian reservations as a cheaper source of cigarettes saw their discount go up in smoke July 1, when the tribes started levying the state's $1.34-a-pack tax.
Jump to full article: Miami (FL) Herald, 2009-07-13
Author: JOSH HAFENBRACK Sun Sentinel


TALLAHASSEE -- Smokers, beware: If you have relied on the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes' smoke shops as a tax-free haven for cigarettes, think again.

The tribes have begun charging the state tax on cigarettes for the first time since Florida imposed it 66 years ago, coinciding with the $1-a-pack state tax hike that took effect July 1. The new tax is $1.34 a pack.

Tribal members still can get untaxed cigarettes for their personal use, but non-Indian visitors to the reservations must now pay the levy.

Florida began taxing cigarettes in 1943, but no Indian tribe collected it until now.

Gary Bitner, spokesman for the Seminoles, said the tribe hoped to reach an agreement with the state on how to divvy up the tax revenues, a concept similar to the gambling compact now being negotiated with Gov. Charlie Crist.

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