Pa. GOP Senate candidate wants flat tax, less regulation

Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Tom Smith visited Philadelphia Wednesday to propose an economic recovery plan centered on tax cuts and less regulation.

Smith trails incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in polls and money, though he’s rich enough to put millions into his own campaign. About 85 percent of the roughly $8 million Smith’s campaign has raised has come from his own loans and contributions.

At a news conference at the Crown Plaza Hotel on City Line Avenue, Smith said his conservative views are rooted in his experience. He grew up on a farm, became a coal miner, a coal company owner, and eventually a wealthy businessman.

He said his prescription for the economy is based on the simple premise that it’s the private sector that creates jobs.

“Our economy is sick because overregulating, overspending, overtaxing big government is toxic to the American dream,” Smith said.

Smith proposes big cuts in federal spending, and a tax reform that closes most loopholes and imposes a flat tax — a single as-yet undetermined rate for all taxpayers. Smith said he would exempt the poorest Americans from the tax, but couldn’t say what income level might qualify.

He said he also wants far less government regulation. He was asked if that meant he’d leave Wall Street investment bankers to do as they please. “Oh, absolutely not, I’m not proposing no regulations whatsoever,” Smith said. “What I’m proposing and what this country and what business needs is reasonable regulations.” Smith says he does favor repealing the Dodd-Frank law regulating the financial industry.

The Casey campaign says Smith’s proposals would benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.