Land-into-trust approval would “destroy the tax base”
New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio says the Cayuga Indians are “robbing the taxpayers” of Cayuga and Seneca counties by acquiring parcels of land and then failing to pay taxes on them.
In an opinion piece published in the Auburn Citizen, Nozzolio said the counties are losing nearly $1.7 million per year in property taxes. “Worse yet,” he wrote, “this financial burden is growing each year.”
Nozzolio also slammed the tribe for reopening a casino in the village of Union Springs despite insistence by local lawmakers that the facility is illegal. The tribe also is in the midst of a dispute with the state, claiming that an agreement between Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Oneida Indian tribe is an infringement on the Cayugas’ sovereign right to operate a casino. That deal grants the Oneidas a lock on gaming in a 10-county area.
The tribe’s refusal to pay property taxes “hurts our school children, as well as the small businesses in our communities that cannot compete with Cayuga-owned businesses that pay no property or sales taxes,” Nozzolio wrote.
The Cayugas currently have a land-into-trust application before the U.S. Department of the Interior. If it is granted and the tribe develops more tax-free businesses, Nozzolio warned, it will “significantly erode, and eventually destroy the tax base of Cayuga and Seneca counties.”