Maine needs a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s tax structure. We don’t need piecemeal changes, stopgap fixes or just plain tinkering with tax rates and revenue streams.

MaineToday Media’s State House Bureau reported this week that members of the Legislature’s Taxation Committee seemed to “back away” from the idea of major tax reform during the coming legislative session that will convene in January and adjourn in April.

Not enough time, they said. And no consensus on the shape reform should take.

“Things like this need their political time,” said Sen. Richard Woodbury, a Yarmouth independent who supported the extensive tax reform plan that passed the Legislature in 2009 only to be overturned by voters in 2010. “This might not be the political time for a major overhaul.”

Woodbury said it’s easy to determine “what people don’t want, but it’s a little more difficult to see what people do want.”

Good point. Most folks in and out of politics can expound all day long on what they’re against but lapse into certified brain-lock if you ask them what they’re for.

When it comes to taxes, the most common “want” is lower income tax rates.

And the most common “not want” is anything that adds to the tax burden of hard-working Mainers who are suffering the effects of a torpid economy.

The fatal flaw in the 2009 overhaul was a reconfiguration of the tax code that brought welcome income tax relief, but targeted consumers with unwelcome new fees and sales taxes.

The reform was touted as “revenue neutral,” but many voters saw it as a tax increase.

We know that Gov. LePage wants to exempt pensions from the income tax and that some legislators are intrigued by the idea of local option sales taxes.

These ideas, and others, are worth discussing, but only as part of a complete examination of the tax code.

If legislators don’t have the time or inclination to launch that debate, they should deal with other issues and leave taxes for another day.

The last thing we need is a fix here and a fix there — only to find out later that we need to fix the fixes.