Gov. Leavitt is heading up a committee of state governors to petition the federal government to stop intruding on states' rights. Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency is mandating programs supposedly affecting the environment without providing funding to initiate these mandated programs.

I applaud the governors' committee for this action. However, I also applaud the Utah County Mayors Association for petitioning Leavitt for the same consideration for cities and towns against state mandates without funding. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.A recent mandate by the state Tax Commission ordering 25 counties to increase all property tax valuations by a specific percentage is a case in point.

Why would the governor and the state Legislature give that kind of dictatorial authority to any single state agency. Evidently the state Tax Commission formed a committee to study the property values in each county and came up with a formula of "one size fits all" and ordered these percentage increases.

The property values in Utah County were all evaluated and upgraded two years ago. State law mandates that property values will be reviewed every five years. However, I do not recall where it is authorized for a state agency to mandate an additional evaluation and order a specific percentage increase. This infringes on city and county autonomy. I do not believe that this dictatorial mandate is warranted nor should it be allowed to stand.

The citizens of Utah deserve tax relief, not an increase in the burden. Some states do not assess property tax. I would like to see Utah also drop the property tax assessment. This infringes on our constitutional right of property ownership. However, we have too many greedy special interest groups who would never agree to let this happen.

Bob Wright

Orem