Flat Tax Supporters Jeer Giuliani In Jacksonville

Saturday, July 7th 2007, 5:14 pm

By: News On 6

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani ran into a buzz saw of opposition Saturday when he explained his opposition to a flat federal income tax.

Giuliani addressed a group of about 500 people in a standing-room only crowd at a town hall meeting at the University of North Florida, answering questions for about 30 minutes on a variety of topics from Iraq and Iran to Social Security and his plan for tax cuts.

Several dozen people jeered when Giuliani, in response to a question, said he would not be in favor of a flat tax.

``I have to study it some more,'' the former New York City mayor said. ``I don't think a flat tax is realistic change for America. Our economy is dependent upon the way our tax system operates.''

Giuliani emphasized he supported a simplified tax system and cuts in federal taxes, including elimination of the so-called death tax, but his response to the flat tax question brought some cat calls and jeers. ``I have a real question whether it would be the right transition for our economy,'' he said.

``I am disappointed in him,'' said Ken Mertz of Fernandia Beach. ``But he did say he would look into it.''

At a news conference after his speech, Giuliani said that taxes would go down under his presidency, saying his philosophy was different from the Democrats. ``They want to see them go up,'' he said.

Two lesser-known rivals for the Republican presidential nomination _ Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and Tommy Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor and U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services _ have voiced support for a flat tax. Businessman Steve Forbes, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination twice, based his campaign on a flat tax. Forbes has endorsed Giuliani.

In response to another question, Giuliani warned against pulling out of Iraq, saying it would create a country run by terrorists. And he said Iran should be kept from getting nuclear weapons.

``No way, no how should Iran be a nuclear power,'' he said.

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