GRAY COURT, S.C. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is rolling out an economic plan that includes a flat tax proposal, private retirement accounts for Social Security and a lower corporate tax rate.

The Texas governor on Tuesday was outlining a proposal he calls “Cut, Balance and Grow” that is aimed at creating jobs and fixing the struggling economy, voters’ top concerns heading into the 2012 election. Perry’s plan sets a flat 20 percent income tax rate, but also gives taxpayers the option of sticking with their current rate.

He would maintain popular deductions for families making less than $500,000 a year, and eliminate taxes on Social Security benefits.

His plan also drops the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, and eliminates taxes on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains.

Perry outlined the plan in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece early Tuesday and was set to speak about it later in the day. In an interview on CNBC, he dismissed suggestions that it would be a giveaway to the wealthy, saying, “I don’t care about that.”

Perry said he wants to give business people incentives to invest in their companies and start new ones. He said he rejects “this idea that we’ve got to have a tax system in this country where you take more away from those that have the ability to create jobs. … What I’m interested in is getting America working.”

The major policy rollout is a critical part of Perry’s efforts to right a struggling campaign. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate a heft and seriousness that wasn’t on display during recent debates. And it sets Perry to the right of chief rival Mitt Romney, who wants to make less sweeping changes to the tax code.

The policy rollout comes as he prepares to start airing TV ads in Iowa and has hired a roster of experienced national campaign operatives to help him. Perry’s chief adviser on the economic plan is former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, who proposed a 17 percent flat tax when he ran for president in 1996.

It’s taken Perry about 2-1/2 months to put together an economic policy package, and he’s had to attend the series of debates without his detailed proposal. Romney also has attacked him repeatedly for not having a plan. Romney released a 59-point jobs plan in early September, about three months after officially announcing his bid.

Perry’s plan would make more dramatic changes than Romney’s would. While Perry’s plan includes the flat tax, Romney would lower rates on corporations and on savings and investment income for middle-class Americans.

Back in 1996, Romney criticized Forbes’ flat tax plan as a “tax cut for fat cats.” Perry said if Romney renews that criticism, “he ought to look in the mirror, I guess. I consider him to be a fat cat.”

Perry chose South Carolina, where he announced he was running for president, to unveil the plan. The first-in-the-South primary state is critical to his path to the nomination, though he has fallen in the polls here just as he has dropped nationally.

He also planned a news conference in the state capital, Columbia, and a fundraiser at the home of former South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson, his top South Carolina adviser.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (14)
  1. Citizen says:

    Thorough analysis of flat tax proposals has been done, and it has been determined by several groups that a flat tax hurts the poor and middle class the most (who pay most of their taxes in the form of sales, use, homestead, social security, Medicare etc.) by adding a mandated minimum tax. The elimination of all other taxes on the wealthy except for the flat tax gives them a huge tax break which will enable them to hoard more wealth and create NO JOBS. These flat tax plans will hasten the U.S. race to the bottom of the financial barrel and contract the economy more and more will still creating NO JOBS. More smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand, and “snowing” of the electorate.

  2. Murph says:

    GOP tax reform….How much did you make?…Send it in ! Everyone in survival mode except the very rich and all we get is this kind of bovine excrement! It’s no wonder that our consumer driven economy is dead as a door nail! There are no consumers left,just the miserly rich and the flat broke populace! It’s time to say kma to the GOP and Tea sippers!

  3. no presidential material here says:

    The only error in Murph’s analysis is he blames the GOP and the Tea Party. This unimaginably huge problem is not party specific at all. It’s a people problem, not a party problem.

    Off topic and of course it’ll never happen – but – we’d do well to not have a party system.

    That said, IMHO Rick Perry is an arrogant, in-your-face, overly aggressive, offensive blow hard who is selfishly focused only on climbing the steps to personal power and wealth and doesn’t care about who he steps on in the process.

    1. Murph says:

      It’s not the flat tax.The main problem is that there will be NO ELECTION in 2012! Those soldiers are coming back by the request of the State Department.There is something very big brewing and it ain’t just Wisc.Gov Walkers problem.Not just the Koch’s and the Murdoch’s anymore either.I can feel it head to toe! Hold onto your seats and watch.There is so much wealth and power heading for hard prison time ,it will make Mexico look like Mayberry!

  4. Mark says:

    Here we go, flat 50% tax on ALL income above $50,000 a year. Now I have a plan too. More fair to those making the least amount of money, but still thought up in about 10 seconds and probably completely unworkable.

  5. Rich Effer says:

    Historically, all of the times when our country was at it’s strongest economically, socially, militarily, and any other ily you choose, has been when taxes were fair. That simply means that the wealthy share in the tax burden, not get off paying very little and reaping all of the benefits.

  6. gdog says:

    Taxes should be fair. It should not just be the middle class being forced to pay for everything. EVERYONE should have to pay taxes. If you only have one group paying the bulk, of course everyone else will think it’s great to continue to raise taxes on that one group. EVERYONE should have to pay their fair share. A true flat tax would force that. No one would get special breaks or write offs.

  7. gdog says:

    I’ll even go one further. The flat taxes are for state and federal taxes. As for local taxes, I say everyone again pays their fair share. You take the amount of money needed and divide it by the number of people living there locally (of course children are included in this equation, we all know schools take up the most of local taxes) and then each persion pays thier piece. So, if the total local taxes are $100,000, and there are 75 people living there, then each person pays $1333. So a family of 4 would pay $5332. Oh, but that would be unfair….don’t have kids if you can’t afford them or don’t live in that community if you can’t afford the taxes there. This would be truly fair. You should not pick and choose who you think should pay more or less. That would be fair.

    1. Mark Too says:

      Loving it “gdog” . . . You are right on point . . . EVERYONE who uses any form of government services should contribute to the revenue needed to pay for those services. Expecting a subset of the population to pay for everyone else is a model that cannot be sustain, and will eventually fail!

      1. Rich Effer says:

        Correct. That is why rich effers should pay more.

        1. Mark Too says:

          Wrong – That is why the just under 50% of the population who currently are not paying any income tax need to start paying their fair share. Expecting someone else to pay your bill is simply wrong.

          1. Rich Effer says:

            Correct. Rich Effers expecting the rest to foot their bill is both simply wrong, and unamerican.

  8. G Dog says:

    Stop posting under my handle!!!!

  9. Sam says:

    “His plan also drops the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, and eliminates taxes on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains.”

    So what you’re saying, Perry, is that anyone who makes their money from the stock market gets an automatic tax break, as they won’t owe anything on their dividends?

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