The following are excerpts from Gov. Charles S. Robb's state of the commonwealth address, which he delivered to both chambers of the General Assembly last Wednesday night:

...We convene this 1983 session of the oldest legisltive body in the New World at a time of great uncertainty in our nation and in our commonwealth.

As I speak tonight, Americans are being sent to the end of an unemployment line that now includes 12 million people. Our economic horizon is darkened by the shadow of a protracted recession -- the worst since the Great Depression. In the last year alone, our nation has witnessed more than 77,000 business failures and nearly half a million personal bankruptcies and the lowest level of real farm income in half a century.

Even here with our strong and relatively diversified economy, 226,000 of our fellow Virginians want and need jobs but can't find them, and in the weeks before Christmas, one in every six residents of our capital city stood at the end of yet another line to receive surplus cheese....

The recession was already well under way last January when you convened for the 1982 session and I took the oath of office ....

As the bad news mounted, we took immediate action to keep our budget in balance. Following the hiring freeze, which I imposed the day I was inaugurated, e instituted a 5 percent spending reduction on July 1st for most state programs and agencies, and on December 1st, I froze all capital outlay expenditures for the construction of state buildings.

These measures have already enabled us to reduce spending sufficiently to meet our essential obligations for the current fiscal year and to avoid the more drastic steps that many of our sister states are now being forced to contemplate. Our joint responsibility now is to accomplish the even tougher job of making ends meet for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1st ....

The amended budget that I will submit for your consideration tomorrow [last Thursday] is designed not only to balance the budget but also to achieve three objectives: to maximize the impact of the revenues available to us; to minimize reductions in essential services to our citizens, particularly those most in need and most affected by cuts in federal programs; and to maintain those priorities we have already established, including the core of state aid to localities. These proposals are grounded in common sense, and I am confident that they can be applied reasonably and equitably.

Therefore, I will propose for your consideration, the following course of action:

First, that you ratify the 5 percent cutback for the current year and the capital outlay freeze that are already in effect.

Second, that you apply a 6 percent reduction in 1984 in place of the 5 percent cutback already in effect for many state programs and agencies.

Third, that you extend the 6 percent cut in 1984 to certain, limited categories of state aid to localities.

Fourth, that you freeze the salaries of all state employees, constitutional officers and college faculty.

Fifth, that you transfer $53 million from the Literary Fund into the teacher retirement funds.

And, finally, that you reduce basic school aid by $20 million.

Regrettably, this last action may postpone beyond 1984 the realiztion of our goal to bring Virginia's teacher salaries up to the nation's median, but it still reflects the basic increased commitment to education which we jointly adopted in the 1982 session.

If you approve these actions, let me tell you what we won't have to do. We won't have to reduce the current salaries of any state employes. We won't have to shorten the work week. We won't have to contemplate general layoffs. And, finally, we won't have to require any tax increases. As a consequence, we will also remain among the dozen states with the lowest tax burden in the nation and one of only 10 states in the country that still enjoys a AAA bond rating.

Even in periods of austerity, however, which require difficult decisions, there are investments state government can and should make to stimulate business expansion, to generate additional tax dollars and to help those of our citizens who most need help and to promote projects that directly affect our future in education and economic development. For example:

By spending a million dollars more, we can strengthen businesses now in Virginia, as well as attract new firms to locate here. And we can use $100,000 of that to assist small businesses and minority-owned businesses, thus targeting firms hit hardest by the recession.

By sustaining support for sheltered workshops, we can enhance the economic independence of our handicapped citizens.

By increasing our expenditure on tourism by $500,000, we can generate many times that amount in tourist spending and still get back even more in state and local taxes.

By obligating $160,000 in seed money, if our colleges succeed in their proposals for a nuclear accelerator in Newport News, we can realize an estimated $140 million in federal funds and the creation of hundreds of jobs over the next five years.

And, finally, by providing $500,000 more for the Department of Taxation for additional auditors, we can collect an estimated $10 million now outstanding in delinquent taxes....

Attacking the illegal drug trade is the trust of the crime package Attorney General Baliles and I are submitting. While I realize that some of you have reservations about particular measures in that package, I believe the benefits can be as real as were the results of your decisive steps last year to combat drunk driving....

We now have compelling evidence that returning the legal drinking age to 21 will reduce significantly the number of highway deaths caused by drunk drivers. Because most young adults have the maturity to deal with alcohol responsibly, I make this recommendation with reluctance. However, if we are serious about reducing the carnage caused by drunk drivers, I believe this course of action is necessary, and it has the full support of the chairman of the Governor's Task Force on Drunk Driving.

Although real progress has been made in the last year in dealing with the difficult environmental and health issues raised by uranium mining and milling, a definitive resolution of these issues is not yet within our grasp. To strike a prudent balance between our desire for economic development and our responsibility to protect both the environment and our citizens' health, I urge you to extend the current moratorium for one additional year....

While we have become members of the atomic community, we have yet to resolve what to do with its byproducts. If we are to continue treating the sick and producing power, we must find a long-term, stable and safe disposal site [for low-level nuclear wastes]. This site could be in any one of seven states, but we have to accept the possibility that it could be in Virginia. For these reasons, I urge you to approve Virginia's membership in the Southeastern Low-Level Nuclear Waste Management Compact.

Recent proposals for a [coal slurry] pipeline raise serious questions....[but] I cannot believe that we can responsibly resolve issues of this complexity, which could have a profound impact on Virginia's economic future, in this short session....

[In eductaion,] we have made real progress, despite limited resources. Educator are now working together to upgrade school standards. The Board of Education is now rewriting the standards for school accreditation. My additional requests to you can in this area enhance the quality of our engineering education programs and strengthen state support for scientific and scholarly research....

Mastery of our future requires...increased access to government for all of our citizens. Hard times offer no license to retreat from our commitment to equal opportunity and social justice for all Virginians. Mastery of our future also requires recognition of Virginia's constitutional mandate to protect our land, air and water for the common benefit....

Weh should get the state out of the business of regulating charcoal and dog food and of requiring local officials to count mules and cows. These are but the first in a series of regulatory reform proposals that will come in the year ahead. Like the propsals now being developed by the Task Force on Science and Technology and by the Governor's Commission on Virginia's Future, these are only the initial returns on our long-range investment in the commonwealth's future....

Is is, ladies and gentlemen, both just and right that we not be discouraged by the difficulties of the moment and that we not be distracted from the great opportunities that lie open before us. Upon our course, surely charted and firmly marked, we now embark in the spirit of calculated hope.

Thank you.