Gov. Paul LePage is right to encourage Maine lawmakers to look for ways to cut taxes, but he is steering them in the wrong direction.

The governor is suggesting that eliminating the income tax on pensions would encourage more high-income retirees to move here and encourage retirees who already live here to stick around.

It’s not that we don’t like tax cuts or that we don’t want retirees to make Maine their home, but we think there is a better and fairer way to accomplish those goals and it’s by lowering tax rates for everyone.

Maine currently has the 17th highest personal income tax of any state. That is not only a disincentive for upper-income retirees to move to the state, but it also has the potential to drive away corporate CEOs who might otherwise want to move their companies here and professionals who have portable work which they could take anywhere in the country.

Eliminating the pension tax could reduce state revenue by as much as $93 million. That amount would have to be made up through spending cuts or tax increases elsewhere. Reducing tax rates for every taxpayer — including retirees — would do more to improve Maine’s image as a good place to live. Sen. Richard Woodbury, an independent from Yarmouth, calculates that $93 million would be enough to lower the state’s income tax rate by a full percentage point, which could have a bigger impact on the state’s economy than just exempting one category of income.

And Maine’s income tax on pensions is only one of the factors that causes prospective residents to look elsewhere. Our property tax rates are among the highest in the country and Maine is in the minority of states that has an inheritance tax.

The governor is on the right track: Attracting retirees with relatively high incomes who don’t use schools or other services is a good economic strategy. But eliminating one tax would shift burdens onto other taxpayers without addressing the underlying problems that lead people to pick another state to live when it’s time to retire.

Maine would do better to pursue a balanced tax reform that lowers rates across the board, rather than go after one tax at a time.