AUGUSTA — Some people, like my wife, view the world through the lens of cooking and food. So let’s think of Gov. LePage’s proposed biennial budget as a huge buffet. For most people, some dishes will seem delicious. There are others you might choose to leave off your plate.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will spend the next several months with my House and Senate colleagues going through the buffet line, inspecting this, tasting that and trying to come up with a balanced meal at the end of it all. For the most part, I want to wait to check the ingredients, experience the aroma and try things out.

I do, however, want to weigh in early on the governor’s suggested main course, the fundamental tax reform he is proposing: a rebalancing of the income and sales tax. Now that’s a tasty dish!

The antiquated way we raise money to pay for state services in Maine has cried out for change for at least a decade. It was designed for the entirely different economy of the 1960s, one in which manufacturing and the production of goods defined who we were. Fast forward to today: Large manufacturing is largely gone, replaced by a service-based economy.

Our tax system has not kept pace. It’s like a loaf of stale bread. We rely too much on an income tax that burdens Maine residents and is an economic disincentive for entrepreneurs who otherwise might choose to invest here. States with no or low income taxes win while we lose. And while we tax the income Maine people make too much, we miss a golden opportunity to modernize our sales tax to fit our changed economy.

Looking around the country, we see that our sales tax rate is low and the range of what we tax is narrow compared to other states. It is time for a new recipe. By slightly raising the sales tax rate and broadening its reach to services as well as goods, we can help replace the money we “lose” by lowering the income tax.

There are three major advantages to placing more emphasis on the sales tax.

 First, many of the goods and services we buy are discretionary purchases. Do we spend $15,000 or $30,000 on a car? Do we go to the movies this weekend? Do we buy expensive shoes or ones on sale? All of those consumption decisions are up to us – in some ways, we will “choose” how much to be taxed.

 Next, a broader-based sales tax will be less susceptible to the drastic ups and downs we see with a narrow tax too dependent on auto and building supply sales that rocket up when times are good and plunge to earth when the economy heads south.

 Lastly, while the income tax is paid only by the 1.3 million of us who live here, the sales tax is paid at least in part by the 27 million visitors who enjoy our state each year. The concept is called “exporting the tax burden.” Why would we not want to give these millions of tourists the privilege of helping us fund our infrastructure needs while at the same time lowering our own bill?

You may have noticed that the core of the governor’s tax proposal is remarkably similar to that proposed by then-Sen. Dick Woodbury a couple of years back and supported by a bipartisan group of legislators dubbed the “Gang of 11.” I was one of the five Republicans who supported the package, along with Woodbury, an independent, and five Democrats. Back then, the governor was not ready to commit, but now he is all in.

Even with the support of our newly re-elected governor, the State House will now fill with naysayers, especially those who oppose taxes on services.

It may be difficult for many of my Republican colleagues to embrace a plan not unlike one the party so vehemently opposed in the 2009 public referendum. Some Democrats may be reluctant to support a package that lowers income taxes and raises consumption taxes.

In addition, there are other totally unrelated parts of the budget that would probably lead to an increase in local property taxes, something that’s of huge concern to me and many other legislators.

But, again, focusing on the governor’s core tax reform initiative, we owe him a debt of gratitude for being bold, for being transformative and for being right. It’s a meal worth recommending.