Tags: Forbes | Flat | Tax | Could | Solve Calif. | Woes

Forbes: Flat Tax Could Solve Calif. Woes

Friday, 12 Feb 2010 02:25 PM

By Dan Weil

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California, which faces a $20 billion budget deficit, could solve its woes with a flat tax, says Steve Forbes, publisher of the magazine named after his family.

That’s not a surprise, given his strong advocacy of that idea over the years. What is surprising is that Forbes has an ally in Jerry Brown, former governor of the state and the only Democratic candidate in this year’s gubernatorial race.

Brown, now state attorney general, "was ahead of his time" in suggesting the flat tax idea during the 1992 Democratic presidential campaign, Forbes told the San Francisco Chronicle. Forbes was a Republican presidential candidate himself in 1996 and 2000.

He’s out with a new book, “How Capitalism Will Save Us: Why Free People and Free Markets are the Best Answer in Today's Economy.”

Forbes says he and Brown have "compared notes over the years" on the flat tax concept, and that it could work in California.

"If done right, it would profoundly and positively change the economy in California," he said. “A low single-digit rate would unleash creativity," and boost the beleaguered state economy.

Forbes says he’s looking forward to Brown’s campaign to see what the former governor proposes in terms of taxes and public unions.

"He's been around as long as I have," Forbes said. "His (flat tax) proposal is a little different than mine, but the concept of basic simplicity is the same."

In 1992, Brown proposed the idea of a flat 13 percent income tax rate for all Americans. In his presidential attempts, Forbes recommended a 17 percent flat tax, exempting the first $36,000 of income for a family of four.

Others support the flat tax idea as well.

Sahit Muja, CEO of Albanian Minerals & Bytyci SHPK, writes on WallStreetJournal.com, “Local and state governments need to slash their budgets to live off whatever tax revenues they generate from a new 10 percent flat tax system.”

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