Tonawanda News

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April 26, 2013

Schumer says plan to charge Canadian visitors 'dead on arrival'

Tonawanda News — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has described a plan to impose border fees on Canadians entering the United States as “dead on arrival” in the Senate. 

During a press conference on Thursday, Schumer said he’s “vehemently opposed” to any such fee, arguing that it would negatively impact economies along the northern border, including those in communities like Niagara Falls and Buffalo.

“If this border fee were to become law, we might as well be putting Stop signs at every border crossing and train headed for upstate New York,” said Schumer. “While the president’s budget has a lot of great ideas, I will never allow upstate New York’s economy to be sacrificed to raise a buck: these fees are dead on arrival in the Senate. A travel fee would send the wrong message to Canadians looking to visit and spend their money in New York – ‘stop’ coming here for meetings that could lead to new businesses and jobs in New York, ‘stop’ fishing in New York and buying bait and tackle here, ‘stop’ visiting our cities and staying in our hotels, and definitely ‘stop’ eating in our restaurants. New York and the United States should be welcoming law-abiding Canadian visitors and the billions they spend inside the Empire State, not nickel and diming them with ridiculous fees.”

President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 federal budget includes a proposal to study establishing and collecting a land border crossing fee at both the northern and southern border. The exact cost of the travel fee is not yet determined. It would require approval by both houses of Congress to become law. 

Schumer characterized as it as a “non-starter” in the Senate. He said it would be particularly detrimental to upstate New York where spending by visitors grew by more than 8 percent in 2011 to $15.4 billion, according to Tourism Economics. 

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