Equal Taxes for All?

WASHINGTON (AP) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling for a flat income tax rate, tying his Republican presidential campaign to a contentious issue that excites many conservatives but mainstream America has repeatedly refused to embrace.

Wealthy businessman Steve Forbes says Perry is preparing to unveil a plan designed to simplify the federal tax code and lower the rate that many people pay on income and investments. Perry plans to detail the proposal next week.

Forbes is a longtime flat-tax advocate as well as a Perry campaign adviser.

The main idea is to replace the stair-step range of income tax rates with one rate, paid by everyone.

Liberal groups are already criticizing the idea, saying that a flat tax would raise taxes on lower- and middle-income Americans while giving breaks to the wealthiest.

Some say it is similar to Republican presidential hopeful, Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan. He is

redefining his signature "9-9-9" tax plan, which would have meant

a tax increase for more than four out of five Americans.

Cain on Friday proposed what he calls "opportunity zones" to

help spur neighborhoods in need of a jolt. Cain spoke in front of

an old train depot in Detroit that saw its last passenger in 1988.

Cain says sites such as that one would find a second life under his

economic plan.

Cain also proposed that some economically depressed areas could

win exemptions from zoning and building codes. He says minimum wage

laws could be waived to give more people jobs.

And he's proposing new tax brackets to reflect different income