Governor, Indian leaders sign tobacco compacts

Tuesday, December 16th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Gov. Brad Henry and leaders of four more Oklahoma Indian tribes formally signed new tobacco compacts Tuesday in a ceremony at the state Capitol.

The Osage, the Quapaw, the Kiowa and the Wyandotte nations are the latest tribal governments to reach revenue-sharing agreements on the sale of tobacco. This brings to eight the number of new compacts that have been signed, while five more are expected to be finalized soon.

As sovereign nations, tribes cannot be forced to pay the Oklahoma cigarette tax on sales to tribal members. However, federal case law does allow revenue-sharing agreements to compensate states for sales to non-tribal members.

The agreements essentially extend compacts that had been in existence for 10 years.

One difference is that if the tobacco tax is increased in the future, the state will get more money from tobacco sales to non-Indians.