The Virginia and Maryland arts commissions operate on budgets that are at least twice as large as the District commission's budget. Yet both of them employ smaller staffs and spend less on administrative costs than the District commission does.

The Virginia Commission of the Arts and Humanities, in fact, recently scored a coup in the world of state arts agencies. For fiscal year 1979 its state appropriation was increased from $283,665 to $1,045,910. This 269 percent jump was the second most dramatic in the country last year.For fiscal year 1980, the state appropriation will increase to $1,255, 095.

Virginia is now ranked 18th among the states in per capita appropriations for state arts commissions. The District, however, is even higher on the per capita list, ranking 16th. Maryland is ranked 25th.

The total 1979 budget for the Virginia arts commission is $1,533,813. About $140,000 of this is spent on salaries and administration (compared to almost $200,000 in the District commission's budget of approximately $600,000). There is a staff or severn (compared to the District's 11). "It's an enormous workload," said Jerry Haynie, executive director of the Virginia commission.

Haynie attributed the recent increase in Virginia arts funding to Bravo Arts, a grass roots lobbying organization that was begun in September 1977. Virginia is much less centralized than the District, and Haynie stressed the importance of grass roots support and grass roots decision-making. he said the commission tries to pass most of its money along to arts organizations and smaller arts councils, without sponsoring many major programs of its own.

The Maryland Arts Council reports a budget of $1,239,620 for fiscal year 1979, and approximately $175,000 of this is set aside for salaries and administration. The Maryland agency employs a staff of 10, including one CETA-paid worker.

The Maryland legislature is chipping in with $858,380 this year -- an 81 percent increase over last year's $473,126. Virtually all of the rest of the money comes from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Like Virginia, Marland supports a number of local arts councils. Maryland Arts Council executive director Kenneth Kahn said that his organization will probably award about 100 to 150 grants this year out of an estimated 200 applications, and approximately 100 additional grants will be made by smaller arts councils which are partially supported by the state agency.

The state which most closely approximates the Destrict in dollar support of its arts commission this year is Maine. The Maine legislature gave its commission $163,550 this year, compared to the $163,100 received from the District by the D.C. commission.

At $666,950 the Maine commission's total budget is slightly larger than the District commission's. About $130,000 of that is spent on salaries and administration. The Maine commission has a staff of seven.

The Maine staff handles many more applications for grants than the District staff. Fiscal year 1979 figures are not available yet, but in the previous year 519 applicants sought 225 grants from the Maine commission. In the same year the D.C. commission awarded 64 grants from 124 applications.

As in Virginia, the trend is toward more decentralization of greant decision-making and fewere programs sponsored directly by the commission on a statewide basis, said Alden Wilson, executive director of the Maine commission.