FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 16, 1997
To date 371 people have been laid off from shops and fuel stations affected by Governor Pataki's quest to tax retail sales of products on Mohawk territory. These layoffs affect 850 family members. By the end of the week it is expected that another 45 people will be added to that list as the last remaining fuel stations and smoke shops close their doors due to lack of product.
This mass layoff represents a loss of approximately $103,880 per week to the North Country economy. That is $5,401,760 per year. This figure can only grow as the ripple effect or the Tsunami effect makes its impact. It is certain that if Pataki's tax law, enacted without consent of the NY Legislature, stays in place the economic Tsunami will hit north country communities surrounding the Mohawk territory, such as Malone, Massena, Cornwall as early as this coming weekend.
Early today, at day break a delegation from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council, the Mohawk Anti-Tax Steering Committee and the Aboriginal Trade and Commerce Commission left for Albany to meet with 30 Assembly Members. The purpose is to educate law-makers on the situation developing in the North Country. Such a trip is being considered for Washington DC in order to alert national law-makers that the Nation to Nation status of the Mohawk Haudenosaunee-US relationship continues to be violated by NY State.
When asked if whether there is support for the Mohawk situation among Northern New Yorkers, Ray Cook of the Aboriginal Trade and Commerce Commission stated, "Well, our neighbors have a choice, they can be part of the solution, or they can become part of the problem. We all benefit from our marketing of goods and services to all people. We have always treated our neighbors with respect and dignity, we encourage them to express themselves to their Albany representatives and alert those reps to the gross injustice taking place here today."