Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wants a piece of the action in the debate over the best way to simplify the tax code, and he wants voters to know he’s been talking about the flat tax for years.
While Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain got the conversation started by proposing his “9-9-9” plan, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has announced that he’ll propose a national flat tax on Tuesday, on Monday, Gingrich’s campaign sent reporters a document saying he is a “long time advocate of [an] optional flat tax plan” with quotations dating back to the nineties proving it.
Gingrich’s plan includes the option of paying a 15 percent or less flat tax, or paying taxes under the current structure.
According to Gingrich’s campaign, in 1997, as Speaker of the House, he said, “There are things I would like to do like a flat tax with virtual elimination of the IRS.”
In 2005, he wrote in Steve Forbes’ book about the flat tax that, “I believe there is a real opportunity for a similar grass roots revolution imposing the flat tax on Washington. As people learn how much money and time they can save through a flat tax, they are going to demand a simple alternative to the complexity and uncertainty of the Internal Revenue Service.”
In a 2008 National Review op-ed, Gingrich wrote that, “An optional flat tax would save taxpayers more than $100 billion per year and reduce compliance costs by over 90 percent. This is a stimulus package that would have an immediate effect on our American economy.”
On Monday, Gingrich explained his position in an Iowa newspaper, writing that, “we must liberate taxpayers from the IRS tax code, which is why my jobs proposals also calls for an optional flat tax of 15 [percent] or less.”
“All workers and businesses would have the freedom to choose each year to file their income taxes either under the new flat tax option with limited deductions or under the current U.S. income tax code,” he wrote. “Anyone who strongly favors a deduction or credit under the federal government’s current complex income tax system would have the choice to keep filing that way.”