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ALBANY, N.Y. — A deepening deficit has New York officials looking again at collecting taxes on cigarettes sold by Indian tribes to non-Indians.
The issue is also making unlikely allies of cigarette makers and anti-smoking interests who say taxation would limit illegal sales and keep cigarettes out of the hands of minors.
At stake is what the state, cigarette companies and a leading anti-smoking group say is $400 million or more in annual revenue. That almost equals a proposed midyear cut in school aid.
The Seneca Nation of Indians counters that its sales yield millions more in spinoff economic benefits to communities than the taxes would generate.
A budget hearing Tuesday will also address concerns the tax collections could lead to repeats of violence that marked past confrontations.
Episcopal bishops authorized the church Wednesday to start drafting an official prayer for same-sex couples, another step toward acceptance of gay relationships that will deepen the rift between the denomination and its fellow Anglicans overseas.
The bishops voted 104-30 at the Episcopal General Convention to "collect and develop theological resources and liturgies" for blessing same-gender relationships, which would be considered at the next national meeting in 2012.
The resolution notes the growing number of states that allow gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships, and gave bishops in those regions discretion to provide a "generous pastoral response" to couples in local parishes.
Many Episcopal dioceses already allow clergy to bless same-sex couples but there is no official liturgy for the ceremonies in the denomination's Book of Prayer. The measure still needs the approval of the lay people and priest delegates at the assembly, which ends Friday.
"We certainly feel a deep need to be able to proclaim the love of God in the midst of a changing reality," said Suffragan Bishop James Curry of the Diocese of Connecticut, one of six states that are legalizing same-gender marriage.