The amount of money that the District of Columbia gets from the U.S. Treasury is proportionately about the same as what many other cities get from state and federal sources by the House District Committee.
Federal aid to the District - which is not located within any state - amointed to 36.2 per cent of the local budget in fiscal 1975, the report said.Combined state federal aid averaged almost precisely the same degree of support, 36.1 per cent, for 18 of the nation's largest cities, it found.
The finding tended to dispel a widespreads notion that the District's annual federal payment is a bonanza that especially enriches the nation's capital in comparison with other cities.
The District Committee report is a 416-page document prepared at the request of Chairman Charles C. Diggs Jr. (D-Mich.) by a staff task force and entitled, "impediments to the Economic, Functional and Aesthetic Development of the District of Columbia, the Nation's Capital."
It was outlined to a group of governmental and business leaders at a briefing last week by Edward C. Sylvestor Jr., the committee's staff director.
Sylvestor said he expects the report to be adopted as an official committee document at a meeting April 25, and to form the agenda for work that will continue for several years.
As its title suggests, it range widely and includes the question of what the annual federal payment to the District government should be.
Sylvester said the currently authorized maximum level of the annual payment, $300 million, is a political decision that has no clearly rational basis. He said the committee staff would like to create such a basis.
Actually, the federal payment is less than half of the money the District gets from the U.S. government.
In fiscal 1976, the District got a total of $553 million. Of that, $253 million was the amount of federal payment that actually was appropriated by Congress. Tha balance, $298 million, came from revenue sharing, school, welfare and other funds that are dustributed to all states or cities.
A table in the staff report indictated that the District actually raises a higher porprotion of its annual operating budget from its own sources - chiefly local taxes - than many of the other cities.
For example, the District raised 63.8 per cent of its government costs locally in fiscal 1975, with the balance of 36.2 per cent coming the U.S. government.
By comparison, nearby Baltimore raised only 36.9 per cent locally, got 11 per cent from direct federal aid and 52 per cent from the state, including assistance for its school. Some of the so-called state funds came from Washington, but were channeled through the state governemnt.
New York, the nation's largest and perphaps financially most troubled city, raides 4.7 per cent of its money although it has high tax rates), while receiving 47.5 per cent from the state and only 4.8 per cent directly from Washington.
New York officials often complain bitterly that the formulas used for distributing federal aid are distorted in a way that shortchanges the city.
The degree of combined federal-state aid in the 18 cities ranged from 53.1 per cent in Baltimore to 13.5 per cent in Dallas, located in a state - Texas - that is noted for the low level of support for its cities.
The table did not that large cities within a state often contribute heavily to state taxation, and did not touch upon the combined state-local burdness in the various cities.
Nor did the table that included three comparisons deal with dollar amounts of municipal budgets, although another table elsewhere in the report did so, along with a warning that comparisons are dangerous.
The report noted that the District, unlike most cities, supports costly state-type courts, high way agencies and prisons.
The District's budget, for 1975 was $1,008 for every resident, compared with $1,128 in Baltimore and $1,689 in New York. Yhe per cpita cost of state governemnt must be added to the latter figures to make them comparable.
The report also showed that the District's long-term debt (borrowed money) was $1,372 per resident, the highest among the cities studied, with New York second with $1,296.
Such comparisons are slippery , however, since the debts owned by citizens of many cities are charged special school districts or transit authorties, for example, while in the District they are directly charged to the city.