Perry says plan will 'free' Americans from lengthy tax code
October 25th, 2011
12:30 PM ET
11 years ago

Perry says plan will 'free' Americans from lengthy tax code

(CNN) - Rick Perry said Tuesday his plan of giving Americans a choice between their current income tax rate or a 20% flat-tax would "set our people free" from burdensome tax law.

"The size of the current code is more than 72,000 pages," Perry said to a crowd at a plastics company in South Carolina. "That's represented by this pallet right here and the reams of paper. That's what the current tax code looks like. The best representation of my plan is this postcard. This is the size of what we are talking about right here. Taxpayers will be able to fill this out and file their taxes on that."

Perry's proposal, which also lowers the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% and eliminates the estate tax, includes provisions for taxpayers to maintain their deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations. The standard deduction would increase to $12,500 for individuals and dependents.

The plan would also eliminate taxes on capital gains and dividends.

In his speech, Perry characterized his proposal as a jobs creation plan, saying the proposed reforms would encourage businesses to hire American workers.

"It is time to create incentives for American companies to invest in American workers," Perry said. "It is time to end the corporate loopholes, end the special tax breaks for special interests, end the gravy train for lobbyists and tax lawyers."

Perry also said he was committed to balancing the federal budget by 2020, saying reforms to entitlement spending and ending special interest payments would help close the cap between American spending and revenue.

Political Notebook: Listen here as Perry supporter Steve Forbes talks with CNN’s Bob Costantini about Perry's new tax plan.

He spelled out a number of specific proposals for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, including gradually increasing the retirement age and allowing state and ending wasteful spending and fraud.

Perry's flat-tax plan, the specifics of which first came to light Monday evening, has been drawing both praise and criticism.

In a statement circulated Tuesday, Pres. Barack Obama's re-election campaign slammed Perry's plan, saying it would hurt middle class taxpayers.

"The belief that middle class Americans will benefit if we just give another special break to those at the top was long ago discredited which is why the President is fighting to create jobs now, restore economic security for the middle class and extend a tax cut that would give the typical middle class family $1500 per year," Ben LaBolt, Obama's campaign press secretary, said in a statement.

Businessman Steve Forbes, who himself proposed a flat-tax when he was running for president in 1996 and 2000, told CNN Tuesday the Perry plan was superior to Herman Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan, which proposes levying a flat 9% tax on income.

"The Perry plan is cleaner and just takes the existing code, starts over with a single rate, generous deductions," Forbes said. Forbes formally endorsed Perry on Monday. "And you're literally going to be able to do it on a single sheet of paper."

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey also voiced support for Perry's plan Tuesday, saying on CNN that it was the "best plan standing."

"The governor's plan is a very bold plan by way of comparison with anything else that's out there, and I think it is possible that it could achieve the growth of the American economy and the job creation that would follow that growth," Armey said. Armey is currently the chairman of FreedomWorks, a large conservative political group.

Also see:

Perry to meet with S.C. governor

Perry on Obama: 'It's fun to poke at him'

Perry to meet with DeMint

Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • South Carolina
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Perry is nothing more than a tax the middle class and the poor class warfare conservative, and his mission is to give the wealthy more tax breaks. Hopefully people will see that conservatism has almost bankrupted America, and send Rick back to Texas where he can make that state the worst in the nation. Mississippi needs to move out of the basement, and Rick is the man to do it.

    October 25, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. Seth

    Of course when he says it will "set our people free", he means the corporations that have now have a "people" status will be set free.

    October 25, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Rick Perry - We are not going to get fooled again

    Last time the country elected a swaggering Texas cowboy who shoots from the hip, it didn’t work out very well. Remember the worst terrorist attack in American history, two failed wars, massive debts, a financial collapse, a housing collapse, rising unemployment, falling wages, $5 gas, and a warming planet? Bush has all but guaranteed we will not elect another Texas politician. “There's an old saying in Tennessee – I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can't get fooled again.” George W. Bush (September 17, 2002)

    October 25, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. me

    Our idolization of the rich is making me hate this one great nation. Enough Koch worship already. I am the only one who is sick to death of watching all my friends get fired so some money grubbing CEO can have what used to be 400 worker's salaries? This country is pathetic and a joke. The only thing our "government" does is protect the corporate rulers who own this place, and the sheep who live here dress like tards holding up signs begging for more abuse. At least the occupy people have a clue.

    October 25, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |

    we must vote these people (all parties) out of office they are NOT concerned with the common man or woman. they have great healthcare for life and money so let them go...say goodbye! 2012 is house cleaning time for ALL republicans and democrates.

    October 25, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. epicism

    It's amazing watching folks eat this up. The fact is, the President has very little authority over matters of taxation/economy. That makes the sum of these plans superfluous; designed to paint a pretty picture of what might be were they ever to become President.

    The fact remains though; no President can fix what ails us. Only congress can. How do your three reps vote?

    October 25, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Jason

    Instead of making taxe preparation easier, it'd make it harder. Since it's voluntary, you'd have to figure out your taxes not once but twice to determine which way was to your advantage.

    October 25, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. D

    So he wants to lower the tax "burden" of corporations in the hopes that it will stimulate jobs creation?

    Interesting idea...never heard of such a thing before.

    October 25, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Thaw

    It seems to me that the only people who will be better off with the so called Flat Tax are the people who are already RICH !!!!

    Perry is just another bag of wind GOP !!!!!

    October 25, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. dont ask

    I love the idea of a flat tax....just not this one. Flat Tax on all purchases. No federal tax whatsoever. You make $50k, you take home $50k. Where you get taxed is when you buy something. Flat Tax on groceries, clothes, cars, homes...etc. That way all the illegals and drug dealers end up paying taxes at the same rate as all the hard working americans that end up getting screwed by following the existing system.

    October 25, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. mws12345

    I'm offering a 19% Flat Tax.

    Vote for me!

    October 25, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. k dogg

    Who cares about perry. Or any one of the teapublican idiots

    October 25, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. poipounder

    Like the tax breaks for the wealthy have helped our country so much... No perry would like to set them free!

    October 25, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. idknothing

    Republicans will not be happy until we are like India. Rich remain rich, and the poor remain poor. Money equals control. They talk about socializm when what they want is a dictorship. They will dictate who has money and those who are the working class.

    October 25, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Jilli

    Perry isn't smart enough to state that the President is a valid citizen, there's no way I'd follow this clown on something as important as tax policy. He's as dumb as a box of rocks.

    October 25, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. obandon

    Tax scheme for the Rich again. With my small income last year including the write off for my home and property taxes I paid approximately 15% in taxes. I claim single zero withholding and still end up paying more that what was withheld every year! But a 20% flat tax would be a huge tax increase for me and I am on the low end of the middle class.

    October 25, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Cowboy Fonzie wants to stick the middle-class's head in the spokes of his ideologue-cycle and rev the engine.

    October 25, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. Brad5013

    Hmmmmm. Anybody wonder why Steve Forbes would like a 20% tax rate?

    October 25, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  19. absurd


    20% is a higher rate than I paid last year. Rick Perry is nothing but a big tax RINO liberal. Hopefully, people will realize an this liberal will go back to his tax payer funded mansion in Austin, TX"

    People.. I mean parasites like you are the PROBLEM! You don't even pay 20%, ridiculous.. I hope you get deported.

    October 25, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |

    Republicans and democrats, both are working for corporations not "We the people". One term is all they should get. We've put in actors, baboons, corporate cretins, people of color.... and where are we better off? the great American train is derailing itself and the "professional" politician is not on board anywhere NOT even in first class. Shame on you all for refusing to work together for the good of the many, instead your working on your personal agendas. 2012 ...VOTE EM OUT!

    October 25, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. Lolo

    Where are they finding these idiotic republican candidates? These people really need to go back to their home states and do their jobs. None of them are ready for the big stage. None of them. Just give it up and try to run again in 2016. This will give them time to perfect the lies they are trying to sell to us now.

    October 25, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. riddickulous


    20% is a higher rate than I paid last year. Rick Perry is nothing but a big tax RINO liberal. Hopefully, people will realize an this liberal will go back to his tax payer funded mansion in Austin, TX"

    People like you are the problem, you should be deported. I hate leeches like you.

    October 25, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. Big_D

    Forbes has a fairly good plan. 20% isn't realistic and the FICA burden on the middle needs to be addressed but I like the concept. I say 35% on every dollar over twice the poverty level. Poverty could be adjusted for reality. This would make the lower earners have more disposable income and help the economy. We also need to end the tax write of for foreign taxes, we shouldn't be subsidizing taking our jobs away.

    October 25, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. jeff

    Everytime I hear republican candidates nonsense, I wonder how people can vote for these ignorant evil morons like Perry, cain and Bachman.

    October 25, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. John

    this guys a joke!

    October 25, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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