Page 12 - CSANews 91

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12
CSA
update
President’s
message
In the last edition of
CSANews,
I re-
counted some of the political victories
achieved by the association in 2013 and
expressed optimism that we were close
to enjoying similar victories in other
provinces. I am pleased to report that,
after a great deal of work on the part of
the CSA, we have achieved one of those
victories in New Brunswick.
As of May 16, 2014, eligible New
Brunswick residents may now be absent
from their home province for up to
212 days – for vacation purposes – and
still retain their Medicare benefits.
This increase provides New Brunswick
residents with an additional month of
coverage, up from the previous limit of
182 days.
This
increase
provides
New
Brunswickers with the flexibility to visit
friends and family in other jurisdictions
after returning from their winter vaca-
tion, without fear of losing their pro-
vincial health coverage. New Brunswick
is now the sixth province in Canada to
permit out-of-country absences for
longer than six months, joining British
Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario
and Newfoundland and Labrador. On
behalf of the CSA, I would like to thank
New Brunswick Health Minister the
Hon. Ted Flemming and York MLA Carl
Urquhart for listening to the concerns
of our members and taking action. I
would also like to thank our director for
Atlantic Canada Ron Steeves for all of his
help with getting this on the political
radar in New Brunswick and seeing it
through to the end. Another big win for
the Canadian Snowbird Association and
all travelling New Brunswickers.
Good news and bad news, if you are
a snowbird homeowner in the state of
Florida. The good news is that the value
of your home is going up. The bad news
is, you guessed it, so are your property
taxes. On average, it is projected that
most full-time resident Florida property
owners will pay approximately 5%more
this year in property taxes than they did
last year. Many of these homeowners are
eligible for Homestead Act exemptions,
which allow them to take advantage
of a 3% annual homestead property
assessment limitation. In addition, the
Florida property tax homestead exemp-
tion reduces the assessed value of a
home for assessment of property taxes
by $50,000, so a home that is worth
$150,000 would be taxed as though it
were worth only $100,000. Although
Florida snowbirds are now able to take
advantage of a 10% annual property as-
sessment limitation, there is no $50,000
exemption. The bottom line is that 10%
is better than nothing, but not by very
much.
This has been an issue that has flown
under the radar for the last few years, as
property values in Florida have plum-
meted. Now that they are back on the
rise, excessive Florida property taxation
on second homes is a headache that has
returned for seasonal residents. With no
state income tax and the fact that most
of us can’t vote in Florida, it has always
been an uphill fight. Last year, Canadians
spent more than $4.4 billion in Florida
and, with five months to go until the
state gubernatorial contest, rest assured
that we’ll be reminding state legislators
of that number throughout the summer.
Even though it seems as if we’ve just
returned from our winter homes, we all
know that Canadian summers don’t last
long. Before you know it, summer is over
and it’s time to start planning our next
trip south. One of the best ways in which
to do that is by attending one of our an-
nual Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations.
This year, we are starting on Canada’s
beautiful East Coast. We begin our
shows in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
We’re then off to Halifax, Nova Scotia
and Summerside, P.E.I., before conclud-
ing the East Coast swing of our tour
in Moncton, New Brunswick. After a
three-day break to do our laundry and
get to the airport, we’re off to Montreal,
Quebec before wrapping up our
tour in Ontario with stops in Nepean,
Richmond Hill and Lindsay. All of these
meetings take place in September, so
please look for specific dates and ticket
information elsewhere in this edition of
the magazine.
As always, these shows are free and
jam-packed with wonderful musical
entertainment and all of the latest in-
formation which you’ll need to get the
most out of your winter south. They are
also open to everyone, so please feel
free to bring friends even if they’re not
yet snowbirds. Trust me, if they’ve even
thought about embracing the snowbird
lifestyle, these shows often provide
people with a great nudge to go ahead
and take the plunge.
Lois and I wish you a wonderful sum-
mer relaxing with family and
friends.
Bob Slack
CSA President