Having just read Rep. John Piotti’s op-ed, “A few last words on tax reform,” I sit here absolutely puzzled.

He wrote, “There is no consensus about what the problem is.”

I have an idea. Our Legislature in Augusta, which is controlled by Democrats and has been since the 1970s, is out of control in a number of categories.

Spending is out of control. Taxpayers of this state have reached a saturation point. We can no longer afford all these giveaway programs that our Legislature affords.

We spend too much on welfare. And this one here is a beauty. A total of $6 million is budgeted for mileage reimbursement so drug addicts can make it to the methadone clinics. Maine is the only state that provides this. When I first heard about that one, I laughed, thinking that it couldn’t possibly be true. But it is.

We spend too much on the failed Dirigo health care.

Our schools have become too costly, due to unfunded mandates. The state continues to balance the budget by reducing general-purpose aid to our schools. All this does is shift the burden to our property taxes, jacking them even higher.

The Legislature keeps killing our businesses because it wants them to pay for more harebrained ideas that the Legislature keeps coming up with, the latest of which was paid sick leave for small- business employees (which failed).

When and only when our Legislature gets spending under control should tax reform be considered. But if the Legislature gets spending under control, perhaps we will find that tax reform may not be necessary.

Heck, they may even be able to lower taxes and let hard-working taxpayers keep more of their money and spend it wisely. This, in turn, would bring in more tax revenue for the state.

The commercials that the No campaign aired were so egregious that no one was close to being fooled by them.

Piotti claimed that tax reform might have failed due to voters’ not understanding it. That clearly underestimates Mainers. We do understand when the Legislature is trying to pull a fast one. That is why a resounding 61 percent of the voters flushed this bill down the toilet.

Piotti claimed he was the main architect of this tax reform bill. Hopefully, I have pointed out some very good points, including that maybe tax reform is not even needed.

In 1789, Thomas Jefferson said, “Whenever people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government. Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set the government right.”

I sincerely believe things have gotten so wrong in this state that we are paying attention and we need to once again set our government right. May common sense prevail.

Mark Nickerson is a retired Maine State Police Trooper. The 28-year veteran land award-winning columnist lives in Unity. He may be reached at menick@uninet.net.