(Boone, IA) Steve Forbes, the republican presidential candidate who called for a 17 percent “flat tax” on income during his 1996 bid for the White House, on Sunday said the tax cut plan being advanced by Republicans in Congress was “a disappointment.”

House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer is pushing a 10 percent, across-the-board reduction in income taxes — an $864 billion dollar cut to be phased in over the next 10 years.

“The plan, unfortunately, is pitifully small,” Forbes said during a telephone interview.

“10 years for a 10 percent tax cut? Why don’t they do it all at once so it would make a real different for real people?”

The plan is opposed by President Clinton, Congressional democrats and by some moderate republicans who say the tax cut will eat too deeply into the federal surplus and put the government back in red ink. Forbes disagrees.

“Here we have record surpluses all over the country and most of the money is going to end up being spent,” he said.

Forbes expressed support for doubling the standard deduction for married couples, reducing the capital gains tax and eliminating part of the penalty Social Security recipients pay for earning money by working.

Forbes embarked Sunday night on a bus tour of Iowa to gather support and generate excitement among supporters he hopes will travel to Ames on August 14 to vote in the Iowa Republican Party’s strawpoll.

Forbes called the bus tour “an exciting way to bring our message to the people. Sign up people, one-by-one: that’s the way you win in Iowa,” Forbes said.