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The tribe is suffering an “economic burden” because the “tribal retailer must wait for tobacco tax refunds and suffers a loss of use of funds during this time period,” Judge Bell stated in his Sept. However, Judge Bell ruled that “the state’s interests in collecting the cigarette tax clearly outweighs the tribe’s interests in marketing a tax exemption.” Judge Bell noted the U. Supreme Court has “never approved a tax refund system for Indian cigarette sales” adding “there is no evidence” that the nation’s highest court “has ever considered a refund system such as that used by Michigan.” “The revenue it derives from the sale of cigarettes to non-Indians comes not from value generated on the reservations but from the marketing of a state tax exemptions,” Judge Bell wrote.

The KBIC “sales of untaxed cigarettes also threaten the economic welfare of non-tribal stores in the area that sell cigarettes” In the early 2,000s, the Michigan State Police Tobacco Tax Team made numerous KBIC related raids in several U. Counties seizing thousands of cartons of untaxed smokes at locations that included the tribe’s casinos in Baraga and Harvey, plus the U. Postal Service regional distribution center in Kingsford. In fact, its no secret that non-native smokers – who are paying high Michigan taxes on cigarettes sold on non-tribal lands – sometimes make special trips to KBIC casinos or to the Pines Convenience Center and Smoke Shop, the tribal convenience store on U. The tribe also sells cigarettes at the Rez Stop, a gas station convenience store in L’Anse.

The Michigan Attorney General’s office is continuing its investigation into the latest state police seizures of cigarettes without a tax stamp.

After the seizures, the tribe issued a statement saying it will not “be forced by the state of Michigan to enter into a tax agreement that would subject KBIC to a one-sided, burdensome state process.” The lawsuit is the latest in an ongoing tax battle between the state and the KBIC.

Michigan has imposed an excise tax on cigarettes since 1947 and that tax has risen many times bringing in nearly a billion dollars annually to the state to help finance education, the Healthy Michigan Fund, and the Medicaid Fund.

In rare cases, a free agent is included only if that player later signs with an NFL team.

The data comes from media reports and public records.

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