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. Chuck

    Republicans: "Bwah! The Tax Code is too big! It needs to be simple!"
    Democrats: "Well let's weed out all the tax breaks for the wealthy."
    Republicans: "JOB KILLERS!"

    October 25, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Pizza

    Free from What? Mr. Cain your a pizza maker dont the people in pizza places have to work like 90 hours per week? Sure cheep taxes, you will have everone out making 3.00 per hour working 90 hours per week....I gues thats where the 999 comes from....

    October 25, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Reed Forrester

    Maybe a flat tax would make sense, if you raised the deduction from 12,500 to $100,000. That way the people who really benefit from the economic system would be the people who pay the taxes. The people who are just getting by, and the people who are comfortable but not really wealthy wouldn't have to worry about income taxes.

    October 25, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Bean

    So pretty much what I'm reading here is raise taxes for everyone who isn't rich, and lower them for the rich (including the elimination of estate and capital gains taxes). Sounds like a republican plan to me...

    October 25, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Moby49

    Since when are higher taxes freedom?? Only when you think like one of the 0.1% would that statement make sense.

    October 25, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Reed Forrester

    I'd go along with a flat tax if you raised the standard deduction from 12,500 to $100,000.

    October 25, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. Bennycat

    And I'll be we can all guess which people he means!

    October 25, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Moby49

    Perry makes Bush II and Reagan look like geniuses.

    October 25, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Kenny

    My problem with Rick Perry is that Sarah Palin is smarter than he is.

    October 25, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. Norm Autrey

    Wait, last week I know I heard Perry say that he would scrap the 3 million word tax laws that are currently on the books, now he's saying he'd leave the plan as is, but offer an alternative flat tax plan? I thought he was for small government? He's just adding to the already completely crazy set of tax laws! For chrissake folks, tell this goober to go home and shoot coyotes or whatever he does. He and his team should have been putting thought into the economy before he announced he was going to run for president, not as an afterthought. Romney is the only GOP candidate who even remotely has a chance against the Democrats and even that is shaky due to the extreme right wing of party and the whole Mormon non-issue. Santorum will drop out, then Bachman, then Paul (possible third party nightmare for GOP), then Gingrich, and it'll be a shoot out between Cain and Perry and Romney will be the candidate chosen, who will then lose to Obama. Done and done.

    October 25, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Dave

    Why do ALL republican plans penalize the poor and middle class, and lower the taxes of the upper class and business? WHY must they destroy the lower earners until they have nothing left to work for? WHY work anymore if you know there is nothing to gain anymore?

    October 25, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. DC Johnny

    This has to be a joke. I like some good sarcasm every now and then, but I get the feeling that this is not a joke, and it disturbs me greatly. Governors, Senators, Reps? I think you left one big job out of that list there, hypocrite.


    One question never brought up to the 'campaigners' is, if their jobs back at home, (Governors, Senators, Reps, etc) are so important, pressing, and time consuming when they are at those positions, then how are they able to spend so much time away, (over a year) from those jobs while on the campaign trail? Yes, yes, we'll hear, "I am kept constantly abreast of all matters in my state"....blah, blah, blah. It's my contention, that is they're able to run those jobs 'part time' while out away and far from their respective states campaigning, then they should be paid accordingly: with PART-TIME Compensation from their respective states – if at all. Aren't they needed at the office IN their Capitols DAILY for votes, legislation, important matters of state? Guess not!!

    October 25, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. John Krizan

    While I favor the concept of a flat tax (10%), I can't say that I favor Gov. Perry's percentage or some of the other details (i.e. making capitol gains exempt). ALL income, whether from salaries/wages, investments, corporate or individual needs to be considered as taxable income. While I agree with the motivation that says that we should tax corporations who move their operations overseas at a higher rate, a flat tax is exactly that: flat across the board for everyone.

    October 25, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Jeff

    Just because someone is rich, does not mean they got their money by stepping all over the poor. There are many rich people who themselves were poor, but pulled themselves up, took risks and still take risks with their money, which provides jobs and a chance for others to climb the wealth ladder.

    October 25, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. WDinDallas

    10% with no deductions. EVERYONE PAYS.

    Works for Russia

    October 25, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. WhereIsPalin

    Let's not stop at a flat tax rate. Let's have a flat living rate. I'll pay the same rate on taxes as the wealthy. Then I'd like to pay the same rate as the wealthy on food, clothing, transportation and shelter. And then have the same percent left for discretionary spending.

    October 25, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Mike P

    I worry about my fellow Americans who are not educated beyond the snap shot tidbits of headlines. Opinions are like your rear end, everyone has one, but it would be nice if these opinions were based on at least some facts. We are shouting at each other and not listening or debating, rather interested in being "right", no matter what or why. Corporations are not paying anything in many instances because they take the money out of country and set up skeleton operations as their headquarters. If we lowered the tax rate to a comparable rate of other industrialized nations, they would stop doing that. Instead, our government is insisting on 35% of nothing instead of actually getting 20%, which would alleviate a lot of our economic woes. Again, make more money, pay more, but everyone needs to pay something, or we will not get out of this mess.

    October 25, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. boocat

    What the hell is in the water in Texas? Are they all stupid wannabe cowboys?

    October 25, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. Bob

    How about a 15 percent flat tax for Middle class and poor and a 25 percent flat tax for the Rich? OH sorry I forgot it is a Republican suggesting this plan along with several tax breaks for the rich. Oh well

    October 25, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Tim

    @Successful, I think it is the first time I have read anywhere that your argument was publicly stated. I have said it all along, the rich stay rich by keeping money not spending it. They take calculated risks. If they lose, it is not the whole farms but a few acres. More tax breaks doesn't mean they will invest. It just means they will save more of their income and spend at the same level at which they are spending now. You GET rich by spending, but you STAY rich by saving.

    October 25, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. JP

    75% of Americans live in cities. Therefore, 75% of Americans do not think like Perry and any Perry policies will not be good for them. If every American lived in rural Texas, Perry would be good for them, but they don't, so he isn't. What Perry doesn't understand is that there are two societies in the U.S., rural and urban. Perry is far right, but only 25% of Americans think like him. Also, a funny thing is those Americans, most of them, are not Baptist. In Perry's Baptist teachings, they are not Christians. A minor point, for sure, but it isn't a minor point for Romney.

    October 25, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    WANT NO TAXES? No Regulations? No Rules? No Police? No Goverment?

    Go to Somalia – that's what they have.

    October 25, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. John

    We need a one page tax code: 5% on the first $100k; 10% on the next $100k; 20% on the next $100k; 30% on the next $100k; 40% on the next $100k; 50% on the rest of your income. No exemptions, no deductions, no tax breaks, no loopholes. All income is taxable no matter where it comes from.

    October 25, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. Teacher's Pet

    Every time Rick Perry and Herman Cain open their mouths, Mitt Romney starts looking a whole lot better to me. Rather a decent man who flip-flops now and then, than hucksters, who are clever in pulling the wool over dumb sheep's eyes. We are all waiting for the tax form that is the size of a postage stamp!

    October 25, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. John

    Sure, it would set the well-to-do free from paying their fair share. For the rest of us, it would do a) nothing if optional, or b) raise our taxes if required. Just another tax cut for the rich in sheep's clothing.

    October 25, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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