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Office of Governor Gary Locke
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Locke signs cigarette tax agreement with Tulalip Tribes

OLYMPIA – Gov. Gary Locke today signed an agreement with The Tulalip Tribes that will allow the tribe to impose and collect their own cigarette taxes in lieu of state taxes.

“The agreement we are signing today is not about contraband cigarettes,” Locke said. “It’s about tribal taxing authority and self-governance.”

Stores on the Tulalip reservation currently sell cigarettes bearing Washington state tax stamps and remit the taxes to the state. Under the agreement, the tribe will begin imposing its own tribal taxes equivalent to the state’s cigarette and sales taxes. The proceeds from these taxes will flow entirely to the tribe.

Tribal Chairman Herman Williams, Jr. signed the contract on behalf of The Tulalip Tribes during a ceremony in the governor’s office this morning.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Williams said. He expressed optimism that the state and the tribe could use similar government-to-government negotiations to resolve other tax issues in the future.

Williams said the tribe will put the revenues to good use for road maintenance, police protection and other services on the 22,000-acre reservation near Marysville.

The Tulalip, Squaxin Island and Upper Skagit tribes are the first tribes to sign cigarette tax agreements with the state since the 2001 Legislature authorized the governor to negotiate such agreements.
Related Links:
- The Tulalip Tribes

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