Mark Twain said, “The only time life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is threatened is when the legislature is in session.”

Those words cannot ring any more true than they do now, with what is happening in today’s world, and right here in good old Maine. I want to give my thoughts about the June 8 vote on the tax reform bill, on which I encourage you to vote yes.

Democrat John Piotti, the main architect of this bill, tells us: “If you are offered $1.07 and it costs you 53 cents, do you take it?”

Let me tell you what I told many victims of scams that I investigated over the years during my career with the Maine State Police: If it sounds too good to be true, then it is. You are being scammed. Don’t fall for it.

Our Maine Legislature has been controlled by Democrats since the early to mid-’70s. And look at the mess this state is in. And it gets worse each year. Our Democrat-controlled Legislature has turned us into a welfare state. It has programs that are unsustainable. Our businesses are taxed to death and many businesses won’t come here or simply leave due to the tax burden, taking very important jobs right along with them from our citizens.

Now the Democrats want tax reform so we have to pay taxes on a wide variety of services that have never been taxed before.The problem is simple. Our Legislature is spending too much money and making too many promises to its citizens that it cannot keep. It doesn’t know how to stop the spending.

When times are good and the money is coming into Augusta, politicians spend it as fast as they can. If they were smart, they should figure out a way to hold spending and build a rainy-day fund to help us get through the bad times.

Everyone knows the economy is on a roller coaster. It has been for as long as there has been an economy. There are good times and there are bad times. Just because times are good should not give the Legislature permission to spend on new programs that will suffer when times are bad.

According to the new tax reform bill, your income tax rate will get reduced from 8.5 percent to 6.5 percent. Do you know that under the new law, you lose deductions if you itemize on your tax return?

Let’s take a hypothetical look at how someone who earns $45,500 (and who has $15,500 in itemized deductions) would be affected under the two different tax structures:

Currently, this individual would have an adjusted gross income of $30,000, and would pay $2,550 in taxes at the 8.5 percent rate. If this tax reform bill becomes law, that same person will be denied their deductions.

Without that $15,500 in itemized deductions, their adjusted gross income becomes $45,500. But, proponents say, that person will only have to pay the 6.5 percent rate. The tax, however, will then be $2,957. That is $407 more in taxes that the individual will pay.

Sound good to you? Is that less? Not to me. I would rather pay 8.5 percent on the lower amount any day than 6.5 percent on the higher amount.

The tax reform bill would give credits to offset the deduction rule. However, the credits become less as you make more, eventually phasing out altogether. This tax reform bill is going to be detrimental to middle-income families.

On top of that, I will have to pay a sales tax on almost everything I do. Going out to dinner and the movies will cost an extra $1.75, on average. Getting my vehicle repaired will cost me more because they want to tax the labor.

I have read the pamphlet put out by the No on Question 1 group. It claims it will cut [income] taxes for more than 95 percent of Mainers. It will not. It claims it will export the tax burden to people from out of state. It will not.

The biggest misconception is the new tax reform law will spur economic growth. Everyone knows this state is unfriendly to small business. This is doing nothing more than placing more burden on our small businesses, which are struggling to keep their heads above water as it is.

We see it with Jackson Laboratory’s planned expansion in Florida, which may produce as many as 7,000 jobs. Jax has been a staple of Maine work and pride for decades in the Bar Harbor region. It is ready to expand elsewhere. How sad. And let’s not forget the company that was coming to Brunswick at the old Naval Air Station. It never happened because Maine’s tax structure was not friendly.

One of the biggest laughers was what our Legislature tried to do to Hollywood Slots in Bangor. After getting a fair deal for all, our Democrat-controlled Legislature saw Penn National was making some real money at the slots. Penn National was in the middle of building a new casino in Bangor to make it even more attractive for the gamblers. In the Legislature’s infinite wisdom, it decided it wanted a bigger piece of the pie and voted to tax the casino owner more. My hat goes off to Penn National for saying it would pull the plug on the project and would leave the state completely if the Legislature raised the taxes. The Legislature backed down and went by its original promise, but only after standing to lose millions it would be making from the casino.

The No on Question 1 people say this tax reform bill will stabilize state revenue. Once again, this will not happen. No matter what they do, the economy will continue to have good times and bad times. No tax structure can change that. When times are bad, the revenue collected as a result of this new tax reform bill — if it is passed — will decrease just like it has in the current economy. Don’t get fooled by the rhetoric.

The solution is simple. We should leave our tax structure as it is. If our Legislature is given more money, it will simply spend it. We need to make our Legislature get its spending under control. It needs to live within its means as most families are forced to do when times are bad. I strongly encourage a yes vote on Question 1.