PARSHALL, N.D. — Liquor retail owners on Native American land in North Dakota are opposing a new 7 percent tribal sales tax on alcohol.
Parshall business owner Lisa Christianson told Minot Daily News that she and others have hired an attorney to seek a federal injunction on the tax on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
“They are using us as pawns because they want more money from the state,” said Steven Holmes, owner of Big Water Bottle Shop in Parshall.
The Three Affiliated Tribes’ tax, which is in addition to the state’s 7 percent tax on alcohol, came after the tribe and the state couldn’t reach an agreement on sharing the tax.
“The tribe has never gotten $1 from any sales of alcohol on the reservation,” said Cynthia Monteau, tribal tax commission director. “But we are having to respond to the results of alcohol being sold on the reservation.”
Tribal Chairman Mark Fox previously has said the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation needs some of the tax revenue to fund law enforcement costs related to drunk driving, domestic violence and treatment programs.
“He didn’t get anywhere with the state so they are stiff-arming us, and he’s not going to get away with it,” Christianson said. “It puts non-enrolled residents under their jurisdiction. The businesses are located on fee land, not tribal land.”
Business owners are also being asked to sign paperwork that gives the tribe the right to inspect their facilities and bookkeeping, Christianson said. However, she said businesses are refusing to sign the documents.
“I feel like they are violating my rights,” Christianson said. “If you want to search something in my building, you get a search warrant.”
Business owners had to comply with the new sales tax on alcohol by Monday.
Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com