Rick Perry on Tax Reform
Republican Governor (TX)
He boasted that he signed seven balanced state budgets in Texas and created the best economic climate in the country. He said Texas has adopted "smart regulations," improved its educational system and "stopped frivolous lawsuits at the courthouse."
But Republicans can't simply criticize Democrats. They need to offer a positive agenda and a vision, he said.
"The time has come to usher in a new era of reform and American revival," Perry said. He got enthusiastic applause and cheers for his criticism of President Barack Obama's administration and his calls for lower taxes, less government regulation and tougher border security.
We have demonstrated that no state can tax and spend its way to prosperity, but with the right policies you can grow your way there.
The red state-blue state debate matters because it is about the future of America. The vision that wins out either the big government, protectionist, nanny state version offered by liberal leaders or the limited government, unsubsidized, freedom state offered by conservative leaders will determine the future of our nation.
PERRY: Seven percent flat tax. Simple. Keep it simple.
SANTORUM: Well, my plan has two rates, 10 and 28 percent, which is the highest rate under Ronald Reagan when he cut taxes.
ROMNEY: I would like 25 percent, but right now it's at 35, so people better pay what is legally required. But ultimately let's get it down to as low as we possibly can, if it's 20, if it's 25 but paying more than 25 percent, I think, is taking too much out of our pockets.
GINGRICH: I would like to see it be a flat tax at 15 percent and I would like to see us reduce government to meet the revenue, not raise revenue to meet the government.
PAUL: Well, we should have the lowest tax that we've ever had, and up until 1913 it was 0%. What's so bad about that?
Do you agree with them that the only solution to our challenges is more taxation? More borrowing? More spending? More central control? Me neither.
Over time, Washington has extended so-called "lifelines" to potential voting blocs lines that now bind the hands of state leaders and choke off individual liberties at every turn. As people of conscience, our challenge is to untie those knots that restrain us and return to the vision of the founders.
Americans want government that is leaner, more efficient, and less intrusive into their personal lives. They want government that will live within its means. Americans are obviously fed up with the so-called "progressive" movement that, long ago, set aside the people's interests in favor of expanding government and raising taxes while doing the bidding of labor unions and activist judges.
Will they find their property taxes spiraling continually upwards because of a broken appraisal system? I say we give that system a dose of accountability, transparency and restraint.
One way to provide tax relief is in the form of a rebate. The appeal of a one-time rebate is that future legislatures don't have to find the money to sustain it. However, the will of the Legislature may be to provide rate relief instead. Either way is better than the alternative: which is having the money spent on more government.
And for the record, I don't believe cutting taxes is the same thing as spending. A spending cap is meant to stop runaway spending, not runaway tax relief.
[The ATR, Americans for Tax Reform, run by conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist, ask legislators to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in each election cycle. Their self-description:]
In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. Since its rollout in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts. Today the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is offered to every candidate for state office and to all incumbents. More than 1,100 state officeholders, from state representative to governor, have signed the Pledge.
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge: "I pledge to the taxpayers of my district and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
Opponents' Opinion (from wikipedia.com):In Nov. 2011, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) claimed that Congressional Republicans "are being led like puppets by Grover Norquist. They're giving speeches that we should compromise on our deficit, but never do they compromise on Grover Norquist. He is their leader." Since Norquist's pledge binds signatories to opposing deficit reduction agreements that include any element of increased tax revenue, some Republican deficit hawks now retired from office have stated that Norquist has become an obstacle to deficit reduction. Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, has been particularly critical, describing Norquist's position as "no taxes, under any situation, even if your country goes to hell."