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Tribe Recoils At Bloomberg’s ‘Cowboy’ Comment

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NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the NYPD’s handling of the traffic nightmare following the Sept. 16 storm to hit NYC. (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, N.Y. (AP) – Tensions are rising as the state nears the Sept. 1 start date to collect taxes on cigarettes sold by Indian tribes.

On Friday, the Oneida Indian Nation called recent remarks by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “offensive and hurtful.”

The mayor had urged Gov. David Paterson to act like a cowboy with a shotgun and enforce the state tax law that hasn’t been enforced for years. Violence broke out in the past when the state tried to collect taxes on cigarettes sold by tribes.

Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter says Bloomberg’s imagery was as distasteful to his tribe as if someone urged Nazis to take action against Jews.

Bloomberg’s spokesman responded the Supreme Court found repeatedly that tribes have no right to sell untaxed cigarettes.

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