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Cuomo clash with Senecas goes deeper than roads

A Seneca Nation flies with the U.S. outside

A Seneca Nation flies with the U.S. outside the tribal council building in upstate Irving, N.Y. (Credit: AP, 2007)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has found a way to get Democrats, Republicans, businesses and unions to follow his lead since he took office.

Here’s one of the few groups that he hasn’t been able to compel -- the Seneca Nation.

The Cuomo administration recently threatened to cancel $47 million earmarked for road-improvement projects in Seneca territories if the tribe didn’t “quickly” resolve issues about how the work is done.

But that’s not the whole story. The dispute is tied to revenues that the Senecas have withheld from New York from its three Western New York casinos because, they say, the state breached its profit-sharing agreement with the tribe when it approved video slot machines at race tracks.

Also on the table is the state’s effort to tax cigarettes sold on reservations to non-Indians.

Seneca leaders have accused the administration of being more interested in threats than talks.

Photo: A Seneca Nation flies with the U.S. outside the tribal council building in upstate Irving, N.Y.

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