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Romney: 'I'm going to lower rates across the board'


CHANDLER, AZ -- In an effort to add specificity and boldness to his fiscal policy, Mitt Romney today unveiled his new tax plan, which cuts personal income tax rates across the board by 20%.

He also said these tax cuts will not increase the deficit, thanks to offsetting cuts and changes to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

"I’m going to lower rates across the board for all Americans by 20%. All right?" Romney told a cheering crowd at a rally here outside Phoenix.

As a portion of paying for his plan, Romney proposed eliminating deductions and exemptions for the highest-earning Americans, which he said would preserve the "progressivity" of the current tax code.

He said he wants to make sure "the top 1% keeps paying the current share they're paying, or more."

"We want middle-income Americans to be the place we focus our help, because it’s middle-income Americans that have been hurt by this Obama economy," Romney added.

Romney released a more detailed plan online to coincide with his rally today, but here he largely glossed over the other two portions of what was billed as an integrated approach to reforming tax policy, spending and entitlements.

"So our tax plan is part of the economy going and getting more people back to work and adding more jobs. But I don't want to add to the deficit. That's why I cut a number of federal programs to make sure we get America on track to have a balanced budget. In the long term we have to make sure that Medicare and Social Security are preserved. It is one whole package," Romney said.

But Romney did not say which programs he would cut (other than President Obama's federal health-care law). Nor did he expand upon positions he has already taken (like raising the retirement age and modifying Medicare to include a "premium support" system that allows for a private health-care option).

And in what will almost certainly open a new front in the ongoing war between the White House and the Romney campaign, the former Massachusetts governor criticized Obama's tax-reform policy, also set to be released later today, as effectively a tax hike-in-disguise.

"He’s proposing today a corporate tax plan, which I understand sounds like he’s lowering taxes. But he’s raising taxes -- raises taxes on businesses by hundreds of billions of dollars. He’s raising taxes on these companies that flow through, that pay taxes on individual rates. Raising taxes will kill jobs. My plan will create jobs. That’s the difference between the two of us."

Before his remarks today, the Obama campaign released this email:

"Mitt Romney has already rolled out a budget plan that doesn’t add up. By giving large tax cuts to millionaires, billionaires and corporations while increasing defense spending to an arbitrary level, his budget would lead to massive increases in the deficit.  So when Romney announces his tax reform plan today, will he be specific about the tax increases and deep spending cuts he needs to pay for it?  Or will his plans add to the $2 trillion in deficits over the next decade he has already proposed?"