Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes said today that if President Carter and congressional budget-cutters are intent on trimming federal aid to the 50 states they should leave state governments as much flexibility as possible to minimize the impact of the cutbacks.
"My concern is that [any budget cuts] be done in a way that does least harm to state government and to those federally funded services which the state has responsibility for delivering," Hughes said at his press conference today.
Before the news conference, the governor released copies of a letter he sent yesterday to President Carter urging that administration officials consult with state and local officials to get an understanding of individual states' needs.
"This course will ensure that the effect on inflation of federal spending cuts is not largely negated by state and local spending increases," Hughes wrote.
The governor suggested that the federal government establish spending ceilings for groups of related aid programs -- such as the variety of federal energy conservation programs or education programs -- and let state governments decide where within these programs specific cuts should be made to meet the ceiling.
This form of spending cuts, Hughes said, would be far more palatable for state and local governments than a wholesale reduction in revenue sharing funds.