Niagara Gazette

Opinion

April 28, 2013

GLYNN: Border fee is doomed

Niagara Gazette — How about adding a special fee for Canadians with season tickets to Buffalo Sabres’ games? Maybe the state parks could impose a $50 day pass on all visitors from India, China, Japan, Europe and South America entering Prospect Park or Goat Island.

One of the most idiotic ideas to ever emerge from Washington, D.C. is a provision in the president’s budget for fiscal year 2014 calling for a study that could result in a new border-crossing fee for Canadians. Obviously this could only be shaped by bureaucrats or politicians with little or no link to the real world. In this case, surprisingly, it was conceived by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

At any rate, you shouldn’t be too upset by the suggestion because, as U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, said Friday, “The border fee will be dead on arrival in the Senate.”

How could any clear-thinking individual ask our government to charge Canadians entering the U.S. on foot, in their vehicles or on a passenger train? As Schumer notes, Canadians spent $4.1 billion along the northern and southern borders in 2011. According to the federal Department of Commerce, more Canadians visited the Empire State in 2011 that any other state in the nation. We don’t need lawmakers on Capitol Hill to convince us of that impact. Just take a glance any day in the week at stores and restaurants along Military Road or the steady lines of car and truck traffic at the international bridges. 

Schumer’s concerns are shared by a number of colleagues. U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-New York, whose district includes Niagara Falls, questioned DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano during a congressional hearing last week. “Putting up economic barriers to regional commerce is the absolute last thing we should be doing to grow the Western New York economy,” Higgins said. 

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