Four weeks into his term, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy stopped in Milford Monday, addressing an audience of business owners and managers at a luncheon arranged by the Milford Area Chamber of Commerce.
Although his time for questions was limited, Kennedy addressed some concerns expressed about immigration and tax policy. Kennedy later in the day was expected to tour the Seven Hills Foundation center on Cedar Street.
In the lunch forum, at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Kennedy said he will support simpler tax policies that allow businesses to succeed. "Our national budget woes are having a dire consequence at the local level. Businesses big and small across this district say the same thing. Uncertainty over our fiscal future continues to choke off our recovery."
A bipartisan plan that tackles the budget deficit is needed, he said.
When people had an opportunity to ask questions, Kennedy was asked by one businessman to explain why the government taxes businesses "to death" while allowing others, including immigrants, to seek free services. "Instead of taxing people to death, why don't we cut the taxes, and allow these businesses to move forward?" said the businessman.
Kennedy, in responding to his concerns about immigrants, responded that Congress is close to reaching consensus on common pillars of an immigration policy. It is almost as complex, and as voluminous, as the federal tax code, he said.
"It's extraordinarily difficult to understand," Kennedy said. In Congressional briefings after he entered office, he said, he asked immigration policy analysts "how long the wait could be for someone trying to enter the country legally, and the experts responded: longer than you're going to be alive. I'm 32. If it's going to take somebody 70 years to get into the system, to do it legally, that's not a functional system."
Ann Sherry, a senior vice president at Charles River Bank, a Medway-based institution with four locations, asked Kennedy if he would be an advocate for community banks. "We were not the ones who did bad things," she said. "We are the lifeblood of our communities. We are seeing the burden of regulations coming our way and we are hoping we have an advocate in you."
Kennedy said regulations could be re-examined to make them more effective, and target issues appropriately. But he said what is created should remain strong. "To make sure we don't create the circumstances for another risk."