The Federation of Civic Associations is considering bringing suit against the federal government in the event $43 million is cut from the federal payment to the District.
At a recent federation meeting, Budget Committee Chairman Lillian Huff cited a House District Appropriations Subcommittee decision made last week to appropriate a $191.5 million payment to the District - $43.5 million less than the $235 million Congreee had authorized for the current 1979 fiscal year.
That action could mean a possible increase in local taxes to maintain city services, Huff said.
Huff said the federation will ask the National Bar Association and the Howard University Law School faculty to determine grounds for a suit against the government.
Huff contended that such budget cuts placed an unreasonable burden on city taxpayers who "pay more taxes than those in other jurisdictions."
"Some laws need to be changed," Huff said. "If we don't do something, nobody will."
Federation President Everett Scott said the federation would vigorously pursue the suit.
"(District taxpayers) raise 80 percent of the city's revenue," Scott said. "We feel we should have more of a say in how the money is used."
Scott said that in addition to increased financial autonomy for the city, the federation would seek to establish public hearings before the subcommittee on any budgetary decisions.
The $191.5 million federal payment approved last week is $125.5 million below that originally requested by the District government, making it the smallest federal subsidy to the District in 15 years.
Scott said he believes Rep. Charles Wilson (D-Tex.), chairman of the D.C. appropriatiions subcommittee, is penalizing the city for showing a budget surplus going into fiscal year 1980. Wilson contended last week that the cut was made to reduce the city's large public payroll, which he said includes 708 employes for every 10,000 residents.
Wilson denied that the payments cut was a penalty to the District, adding that the subcommittee was trying to arrive at "a reasonable figure."
"If everyone who wanted a larger appropration filed suit, the courts would be crowded," Wilson said in a recent telephone interview. "I don't think they will file after they talk to a lawyer."
Gregory New, Public Interest Civic Association of Northeast Washington delegate and recording secretary, was the only federation member to oppose the motion at the meeting Friday.
"I think political decisions should be made by elected people and that we shouldn't take our political decisions to the court," New said, adding that he would support the federation's decision.