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CSANews
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FALL 2013
On June 27, 2013,
the United States
Senate passed the Border Security,
Economic Opportunity, and Immigration
Modernization Act. One of the provisions
in the Senate bill is the creation of the
“Canadian Retiree Visa.” This is a big step
for our initiative and we now need the
House of Representatives to take similar
action. As those of you who have been
following this will know, this is easier said
than done.
Although it is unlikely that the House
will pass the same version of the bill as did
the Senate, there is a sense that they will
take some form of action regarding immi-
gration reform. The House leadership has
proposed an incremental approach that
deals with different parts of comprehen-
sive immigration reform in separate bills.
There is also a bipartisan group of House
members planning to release their version
of comprehensive immigration reform
legislation in September.
On top of all that, our “Canadian Retiree
Visa” already exists on the House side in a
bill named “The Jobs Originated through
Launching Travel (JOLT) Act. The JOLT
Act currently has almost 70 bipartisan
co-sponsors and will almost certainly be
part of any immigration reform legislation
which the House brings forward.
So where does that leave the “Canadian
Retiree Visa”? Democratic Senator Chuck
Schumer who, as you may recall, included
our proposal in the Senate bill has indi-
cated that he’s “OK” with the House of
Representatives passing immigration
reform in individual sections, noting that
those bills will get combined together
in a conference committee. This es-
sentially means that the two chambers
would go back and forth between the
Senate bill and whatever emerges from
the House until they reach some form of
compromise.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid
seems confident that the House will
eventually abandon plans to run through
immigration as a set of separate bills and
pass a tweaked version of the Senate
bill. “The House is going to pick it up, the
House is going to do it,” Reid said in July. “I
don’t know when. It won’t be in the next
two weeks, but they will pass it.”
Former Republican vice-presidential
candidate Paul Ryan favours a piecemeal
approach to passing immigration reform
and believes that there will be a series of
votes on the House proposals in October.
Whatever approach is ultimately taken,
there are many legislators in both parties
who believe that some kind of immigra-
tion reform is necessary and that it’s our
job at the CSA to do everything we can
to ensure that our proposal emerges un-
scathed. With the passage of the Senate
bill, we are halfway there. 
Here’s a story for everyone who thinks
that Canadian snowbirds are the only
ones who need to keep an eye on how
long they travel outside of their home
province.
In his proposed 2012-13 state budget,
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton proposed
an income tax on capital gains and divi-
dends, as well as on stocks and bonds for
those Americans who spend two months
or longer a year in Minnesota. Income
earned in the state is already taxed, re-
gardless of residence status. When asked
if there was a tax aimed at snowbirds in
the proposed budget, the Democratic
governor replied, “There is a snowbird tax
– absolutely.”
Apparently, the thinking here was that
Minnesota snowbirds are rich and that
nobody would much care if the state
government slapped yet another tax on
their backs. Not only was it expected to
raise just $15 million a year (a pittance, in
a proposed budget of $37.9 billion), but
the inconvenience of enforcing this would
have been an administrative nightmare.
Minnesota’s vacation industry could hard-
ly believe their ears, thinking of all those
visitors who would be spending less time
and money in the state during the sum-
mer months. Thankfully for Minnesota
snowbirds, cooler heads prevailed and
the proposed snowbird tax was dropped
prior to adoption of the annual budget.
Of course now that Minnesota has aban-
doned this idea, there are rumblings that
California officials are having a look at a
similar proposal.
With British Columbia and Manitoba ex-
tending time-out-of-province provisions
for residents from six to sevenmonths and
Saskatchewan not monitoring short-term
summer trips, Alberta is the last province
west of Ontario limiting out-of-province
stays to just six months. If you are an
Alberta member, I urge you to write or
e-mail your MLA, the minister of health
e
ministerofjustice
and the premier
-
questing that the Alberta government
extend health coverage from six to seven
months. You may wish to remind them
of the recent extensions granted in both
British Columbia and Manitoba for snow-
birds simply looking for a little flexibility to
visit friends and family in other provinces
during the summer months. Contact in-
formation for Alberta MLAs can be found
online at
Safe travels.
CSA
update
Government Relations
report
Ron Steeves
First Vice-President