District of Columbia officials asked yesterday for congressional and presidential support for a larger and assured federal payment to the city, but left the meeting of a White House task force clearly disappointed with the cool reaction to their plea.
The current payment, designed chiefly to compensate the city government for untaxed federal property, is $300 million. It was set by the same law that granted home rule to the city two years ago.
At yesterday's closed meeting of the White House task force on District problems, held at the Capitol, city officials asked for an escalator formula under which the federal payment would equal 40 per cent of city tax revenues. The current figure is closer to 30 per cent.
Martha (Bunny) Mitchell, the White House liaison on District affairs who presided at the session, said city officials view this as "a very important fiscal management concern, having a federal payment (in an amount) they can count on."
Mitchell was the sole person designated to speak for the task force. Major Walter E. Washington, leaving the meeting with a frown on his face, was asked by a reporter, "Are you happy with what you heard in there?"
"Not too happy," the mayor replied, "but I'm not going to get into it if that (Mitchell's status as spokeswoman) is the ground rule."
Sources said the city proposal encountered its chief resistance from members of Congress who serve on the task force and who must pass upon the amount of the federal payment during the annual budget review process.