Perry to propose 20% 'optional' flat-tax
October 25th, 2011
08:15 AM ET
11 years ago

Perry to propose 20% 'optional' flat-tax

(CNN) -– Texas Gov. Rick Perry will propose giving Americans a choice between their current income tax rate or a 20% flat-tax rate when he announces part of his plan for the economy Tuesday in South Carolina.

Perry laid out his intentions in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal that was published Monday evening. The plan is titled “Cut, Balance, and Grow.”

“The plan starts with giving Americans a choice between a new, flat tax rate of 20% or their current income tax rate,” Perry writes in the article. “The new flat tax preserves mortgage interest, charitable and state and local tax exemptions for families earning less than $500,000 annually, and it increases the standard deduction to $12,500 for individuals and dependents.”

Perry first announced his intention to offer a flat-tax plan last week, but did not offer any specifics about the rate.

One of Perry’s key assertions is that a flat-tax will make it easier for Americans to file their tax returns.

“This simple 20% flat tax will allow Americans to file their taxes on a postcard, saving up to $483 billion in compliance costs,” Perry wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

He emphasized the plan would create a better environment for creating American jobs.

“By eliminating the dozens of carve-outs that make the current code so incomprehensible, we will renew incentives for entrepreneurial risk-taking and investment that creates jobs, inspires Americans to work hard and forms the foundation of a strong economy,” Perry wrote.

The Texas governor also will propose lowering the corporate tax rate to 20%, a significant decrease from the current rate of 35%. The Perry plan would also eliminate the estate tax, commonly referred to by Republicans as the “death tax.”

Perry also plans to eliminate taxes on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends, as well as taxes on Social Security benefits.

In his op-ed piece, Perry also stressed the importance of reducing the federal debt, setting the goal of balancing the budget by 2020.

“It will be an extremely difficult task exacerbated by the current economic crisis and our need for significant tax cuts to spur growth,” Perry wrote. “But that growth is what will get us to balance, if we are willing to make the hard decisions of cutting.”

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Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Marc

    Wow....God Himself only asks for 10%. Republicans sure do have high opinions of themselves.

    October 25, 2011 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  2. heliocracy

    So in other words, he's proposing that the tax rate on the wealthy be lowered by 15%. If you make the U.S. national average income or below, your tax rate is already below 20%. Does anyone still pretend that the GOP is the party of the rich, for the rich?

    October 25, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  3. Durr, Maths

    So, even with Herman Cain's costing (according to the media, and they're wrong) roughly 18%, Perry is still up 2%.

    Brilliant strategy. Maybe next Perry will quit the campaign to see if anyone decides to follow him, to narrow the field down and improve Perry;s chances.

    Well, I'm going to go smash my head with a hammer for the next 10 minutes, to remove the stupid from my head, in the only way that seems rational enough to do so at this point.

    Ron Paul 2012!!! Anyone but those other cretinous morons.

    October 25, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  4. lynn

    Perry's econmy record for tx is scary when you research it. Tx has worst education record, and all the oil gigs, and jobs come mostly from oil. Jobs wages in tx= 2 min wages jobs to make it..again.sounds to good to be true. Rich people don't have mindset like lower income people..!

    October 25, 2011 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  5. Midwestmatt

    Who is this secessionist talking, gunslinging, anti-science yahoo actually kidding?

    Only those paying more than 20% are going to even entertain this and that means the wealthier Americans and the wealthier American ALONE are going to salivate at this.

    Perry just needs to go away along with Cain. Please let someone like Huntsman have some airtime as I'm about to lose it with these "front runner" yahoos won't shut up and who contradict themselves and then "backtrack" to appease their right wing nut job bosses.

    October 25, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  6. john

    REALLY?? How about 8 percent.....stop taking all my money

    October 25, 2011 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  7. DMarie

    I wonder if the corporations also lose all their loop holes.....

    October 25, 2011 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  8. kickinthefellas

    yeah.......hows those Bush tax cuts working for ya sport?

    October 25, 2011 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  9. Alex

    Of all the proposals, this is the most stupid. First of all, there is not a single cent of additional revenue that this will bring to the budget. The complicated tax code stays as is, and most people and businesses will keep looking at it to see if they are maybe below 20%. This will cost trillions more than before, but Perry wants to balance the budget and pay off debt? Only if he lays off everyone in the federal government and stops every service there is.

    October 25, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  10. Dobie

    Why not just announce a tax cut? After all only the people that would pay less will take the "option" of a the flat tax.

    October 25, 2011 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  11. John

    Let's start with "save up to $483 billion." Over how many years? Twenty? Thirty? Is this assuming everyone does it?

    Second, more importantly, this is a break for the rich who make their money with their talents, like CEOs, actors, and athletes. Those who make money with money, like Warren Buffett, won't be helped. Middle-class families might get some help from it, but not too much, and the poor get nothing from it. Essentially, it cuts taxes at a time when we need to raise overall taxes and cut spending.

    I wasn't going to vote for him before. No way I'd even consider it with this plan.

    October 25, 2011 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  12. jared

    So if I'm not mistaken. He's saying that. If take the "flat 20%" tax rate. And I make 3000 in one paycheck. I'm only paying 600 in taxes?

    October 25, 2011 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  13. Gradgirl

    They r trying to cut in a reccession. Not a good idea.

    October 25, 2011 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  14. Rick

    My guess is that no one who posts a comment here has ever paid anything close to 20% of his gross income in federal income taxes. Just a guess.

    October 25, 2011 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  15. John

    Actually, check that last comment. Buffett would now pay almost NO taxes. He made $62 million! 20% tax for corporations? I agree with getting rid of the estate tax on principle, but the rest of the cuts are ridiculous!

    October 25, 2011 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  16. david

    20% will be very hard for many.

    October 25, 2011 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  17. HolyChrist

    So, if it's "optional", how does this eliminate anything? Sounds like they still need to support the existing code with the addition of a NEW code. The elimination of the estate tax is definitely a great idea, though.

    October 25, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  18. TaxonTax

    Why not 50%? It will do just as much good.

    October 25, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  19. Randy

    As a wage earner, I'm dead set against Perry's flat tax. It isn't that I'm against a single tax rate, but equal incomes warrant equal tax treatment, regardless of how that income is derived.

    October 25, 2011 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  20. Stone

    Just think of all the time and paper saved.

    October 25, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  21. Matt

    Does Perry know how many accountants jobs his plan would destroy?

    October 25, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  22. Nancy

    How is giving people a choice making things simple? Now you have to figure your taxes two different ways to see which comes out better for you.

    October 25, 2011 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  23. Seth

    No way, that's more tax than I pay now!

    October 25, 2011 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  24. Johan S

    Make it mandatory, and this plan is a win. Far better than 9-9-9 plan which retains the complexities of what can and cant be deducted etc. Income tax still exists so all the complexities of an income tax code will remain.

    October 25, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  25. DingDong

    I don't even pretend to fully understand this, but if it is coming from Rick Perry....I know its a bad idea.

    October 25, 2011 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
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