Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Oneida city workers banned from Oneida Nation sites on city time
ONEIDA, N.Y. (AP) Oneida officials have ordered city employees not to patronize Oneida Indian Nation businesses while driving or riding in city-owned vehicles.
"Under no circumstances are employees of the department while operating or riding in a City of Oneida owned vehicle visit any Save-on, Plaza mart or Oneida Mart for the purpose of making any purchase," wrote City Engineer Jim Bacher in a March 2 memo.
Mayor James Chappell said he discourages all employees from patronizing nation-owned businesses on city time and in city vehicles because the Oneidas' businesses do not collect sales tax for the city.
"I don't think it's appropriate," Chappell said. "I assume it was understood when I took over" as mayor in January 2000.
He said workers in every department knew about this policy even before Bacher's memo went out. Bacher sent the memo after a city resident complained about seeing a city vehicle parked at a nation-owned station.
The Oneidas don't pay property taxes on their businesses, maintaining they are members of a sovereign nation that isn't subject to U.S. taxation.
Their stations are located in Oneida, Verona, Canastota, Lenox, Sherrill and Verona Beach.
Chappell said the city doesn't encourage its employees to boycott nation-owned businesses on their own time.
The Oneida Indian Nation is suing Madison and Oneida counties for the return of 250,000 acres the state purchased illegally in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The local chapter of Upstate Citizens for Equality, a group of about 4,000 landowners who oppose the nation's land claim and tax stance, called the city's policy a "good first step."
Oneida Indian Nation representatives were not available for comment Wednesday.
The stereotype here is that the Oneida Nation's sovereignty is somehow different from the sovereignty of any other government—country, state, or city. Is Mayor Chappell upset because businesses across the border in Canada or Pennsylvania don't collect sales tax for his city? Then why should he care if the Oneida Nation doesn't collect sales tax? The analogy is clear.
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