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Brown: Lowering business taxes would grow employment

Date: 10/5/2010

Oct. 6, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

HOLYOKE -- Sen. Scott Brown apparently paid little attention to the script that he brought into the annual legislature luncheon presented by the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

He joked his staff didn't like it when he went "off script," but his standing-room-only audience certainly did, greeting Brown with a standing ovation.

Introduced by State Sen. Michael Knapik who described him as a "game changer," Brown's remarks went from a status report of what is happening in the Senate to candid admissions about meeting famous people.

He directly addressed complaints that he has voted along side Senate Democrats on bills.
Sen. Scott Brown was the guest speaker at the legislative luncheon sponsored by the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce on Monday. He told area business leaders that he understood their concerns and was working to make the business climate better.

"I get protested more than any other [senator]," he said. "It's a badge of honor."

Repeating what he had said before he cautioned supporters he would not be in "lock step" with either the leader of the Senate, Harry Reid or the minority leader Mitch McConnell. Instead, he said he looks at legislation on an individual basis and considers each bill on its merits.

One of his acid tests is whether or not it will raise taxes or the deficit.

"All I want to do is to pay out of the checking account rather than the credit card," he said of his philosophy on funding programs.

Compromise is a "two-way street," he said, and noted while he has voted with Democrats, they haven't supported his proposals.

"We need some balance," he charged. "We need some level playing fields."

He said that he views his job as "trying to get [the two sides] to talk."

He disputed the allegation that Republicans in Washington D.C. make up "the party of no," and characterized much of what is happening in Congress right now as "just a commercial for November."

Brown said several times that jobs take center stage with voters and yet out of seven months so far he has been in the Senate, he has seen 10 days spent in legislation affecting job growth.

He is concerned that legislation is paid for "by taking from Peter to pay Paul."

Brown called for the lowering of federal corporate tax, which he said was the second highest in the world. Corporate taxes are pushing jobs overseas, he maintained.

When one member of the audience asked about Callaway Golf'ss announcement of moving about 300 jobs from Chicopee to Mexico, despite positive earnings, Brown admitted in that case there might be other reasons than the level of corporate taxes. He added though that companies such as Calaway have to compete globally and taxes and labor are less expensive in Mexico.

He is concerned the medical device tax that was part of the health care legislation is "crushing [that] business in Massachusetts."

He also believes the federal government shouldn't be raising taxes in the middle of a recession.

Asking the audience what concerns them most as businesspeople, one person said, "Uncertainly." Brown replied, "Thank you."

He said businesspeople are concerned about investing in hiring people, because they don't know what the federal government will do next.

Brown said the federal government sends a "mixed message" to corporations. On one hand, corporations are asked to support charitable causes, while on the other hand they are penalized through taxes.

Speaking about some experiences he has had as a senator, Brown said, "Amazing things happen."

He met Gene Simmons, the leader of the veteran rock band KISS, at a concert. Simmons was in full make-up and Brown said he was a hardcore Republican who was discussing peace in the Middle East and nuclear weapons with him.

"It was surreal," he said with a laugh.

He offered one piece of advice for anyone considering entering a political race: don't talk about your daughters' availability on national television.

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