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UPDATE: Oneida's, NYS reach a deal

ALBANY - The Oneida Indian Nation and the State of New York have an agreement that will mean New York will collect tax from the tribe`s casino, the first time that will happen in the 20 years it has been open.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday the Oneida Indian Nation will pay the state 25% in taxes on the revenue generated from the tribe`s slot machines at the Turning Stone Resort Casino, located in Verona. Oneida County, where the casino sits, will receive a chunk of the tax money which is estimated at $50 million a year, Cuomo said Thursday.

Oneida County will get a quarter of the tax revenue putting their yearly estimated total at $12.5 million, Cuomo estimated.

The Oneida Indian Nation will also start collecting state and local sales tax so surrounding business will have the opportunity to compete, however the nation is allowed to keep the sales tax money, the agreement states.

In return the agreement means the "region", as outlined by Governor Cuomo last week, around Turning Stone can no longer make a push to get a resort style casino if the state approves gambling later this year. Also, both Oneida and Madison counties must drop the lawsuits they currently have against the tribe over land ownership disputes.

To make up for the loss in property taxes the state will pay both counties an annual amount.

"Today`s agreement paves the way to end decades of litigation, controversy over taxes, land and gaming issues," said Cuomo.

Oneida Indian Nation CEO, Ray Halbritter, touted the work of Cuomo saying no other governor had been willing to deal like he had.

"This is a success not just for the Oneida people but it is a win for Central New York and win for the state," Halbritter said.

However not everyone sees it that way. Assembly-member Claudia Tenney, R- New Hartford, said this deal is a lose/lose.

"$12 million a year is peanuts," Tenney said. "They owe between $600-$700 million in back taxes and now we are going to continue to allow them to not repay any taxes owed. They are going to be given land to do whatever they want with."

The boards of both Oneida and Madison County must approve the deal.


ALBANY -- The Oneida Indian Nation and Governor Cuomo are expected to hold a joint press conference later today.  Sources tell CBS6 Capitol Correspondent Pat Bailey that the two sides "have reached a deal" but aren't being specific about what that deal is.
The two big disputes between New York state and the Oneida Nation are the taxation issue and the land/territory issue.
Since the Oneida Indian Nation's original casino agreement with the state back in 1993, they have not paid any taxes. It's unclear how much they owe the state.
The dispute over land has gone back and forth in court as far back as the 70's.
Pat will have a full update on the CBS6 News at Noon.
[Details here]
 
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