Rick Perry said he was willing to bump tax plans with Herman Cain in Tuesday's debate and it looks like he's ready to debut his own idea soon: a flat tax.
Speaking at the Western Republican Leadership Conference on Wednesday, Perry said his plan "starts with scrapping the three million words of the current tax code, starting over with something simpler: a flat tax."
While details are yet to be released, the idea of a flat tax -- a single tax rate that everyone pays regardless of income -- has floated around conservative circles for years. Perry himself toyed with it in his book, Fed Up! In most forms it's a regressive tax, since the current system requires the wealthy to pay higher income tax rates than middle and lower income Americans. There are ways to make it more progressive by adding tax breaks or other exemptions for lower incomes, but it's not clear yet whether Perry's plan will include them.
Perry has complained in the past about the "injustice" that 47% of American taxpayers pay no federal income tax, either because their incomes are too low or because they receive a variety of tax credits. A flat tax might provide a solution if it's applied across the board without exemptions or credits, but would amount to a significant tax increase for many middle and lower income Americans in such a scenario.