Washington state in gas tax dispute with tribes

SPOKANE, Wash. — The state of Washington is accused of illegally imposing its gas tax on the Spokane Indian Tribe in a dispute that could have wider implications for tribes in the state and the nation. The tribe, which operates gas stations on its reservation, says it is exempt from state taxes under a 1987 agreement with the state. But the state Department of Licensing is demanding the tribe pay the tax, which amounts to about $1 million a year. The tribe has refused, and the state has threatened to shut down its gas stations. The dispute is now in court, and a hearing is scheduled for May. The outcome of the case could have a significant impact on tribes in Washington and other states. There are about 200 tribes in the United States that operate gas stations, and many of them have agreements with their states that exempt them from state taxes. If Washington is successful in its case, it could set a precedent for other states to challenge similar agreements. The Spokane Indian Tribe is one of the largest tribes in Washington, with about 3,000 members. The tribe’s gas stations are a major source of revenue for the tribe, and they provide jobs for many tribal members. The tribe says that the state’s attempt to impose its gas tax is a violation of its sovereignty. .

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