LAS VEGAS - Coming off a debate in which he was seen as an aggressor, especially against GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry exited attack mode Wednesday and continued laying out energy and economic ideas, foreshadowing a coming speech in which he is set to detail an economic plan that will include a flat tax.
"It starts with scrapping the three million words of the tax code and starting with something simpler: a flat tax," Perry told the Western GOP Leadership Conference Wednesday.
Perry has previously endorsed a flat tax--an income tax rate that is the same across all incomes--as a way to overhaul the nation's tax system. At the same time, he has backed away from supporting the fair tax, which is based on sales tax.
Top Perry aides suggested Wednesday that the new plan involve transitioning to a single, nationwide tax rate and that Perry's plan is still evolving. Long-time flat tax advocate and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes is consulting the Perry campaign as it develops the overhaul.
Critics of the fair tax suggest it will cause retail prices to rise, hurting the economy and the poor. But it appears a single-rate flat tax will be a part of the comprehensive economic plan Perry lays out next week.
Aside from revamping the tax code, Perry told the Las Vegas crowd that implementing a federal balanced budget amendment is key and that it would be a priority early in a Perry presidency.
"I will barnstorm this country from day one, going to all 50 states if that's required to generate support for a balanced budget amendment that will require, that will demand the necessary changes be placed in our constitution and make tough choices year after year," Perry said.
Perry also made the case for drastically reducing government regulation, especially the Dodd-Frank financial regulation act. While supporters say that legislation protects consumers from large banks that created the 2008 financial crisis, Perry says it's a case of politics getting in the way of the economy.
The Texas governor briefly went back on attack during Wednesday's speech while making an argument for a simpler tax code. But instead of attacking his fellow GOP candidates, Perry focused President' Obama's Treasury Secretary who had to pay back taxes.
"I want to make a tax code so simple even Timothy Geithner can file his taxes on time," Perry joked.
Fox News Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron contributed to this report.