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Florida's Senators Again Look To Keep Canadian Snowbirds Longer

John O'Connor
From left, then-Gov. Rick Scott, his lieutenant governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio urge GOP voters to cast their ballots early at a 2014 event. Scott, now a senator, introduced a bill with Rubio to extend stays for Canadian snowbirds.

Florida's senators are again looking to keep Canadian retirees in the U.S. longer. 

Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio introduced the “Canadian Snowbirds Act,” on Thursday. If passed, it would allow Canadian citizens over age 50 who own or rent U.S. homes to spend up to eight months a year in the country. Currently, the annual U.S. stay is capped at six months.

Rubio and then-senator Bill Nelson introduced a similar bill last year. It never made it to a hearing. 

Rubio pointed to Canadians' tourism dollars as a driving factor for extending the period they can spend in the States.

“Tourism is a crucial part of Florida’s booming economy, creating and supporting thousands of jobs all across the Sunshine State,” Rubio said in a press release. “This bill will be a huge boost to our state’s economy by allowing the millions of Canadian snowbirds who visit Florida each year to stay two months longer.”

Scott said Canadians accounted for 3.5 million of the 126 million visitors to Florida in 2018. The northern visitors spent $6.5 million in Florida in 2016, according to a report from the Canadian embassy. 

At present, Canadians staying more than six months of the year are taxed as though they're U.S. residents, and have to pay federal taxes on their income regardless of where it was earned.