Prince William County officials looking to Richmond for help solving their fiscal woes would seem to have two chances -- slim and no chance at all.

Members of Prince William's delegation to the Virginia General Assembly said the prospects are virtually nil for passage of laws giving Prince William the right to tax cigarettes and restaurant meals, or to raise the sales tax -- all priority items on the Board of County Supervisors' legislative wish list for 1988.

"I just don't see {the state} adding new taxes this year," said Del. J.A. (Jack) Rollison III, a Republican from eastern Prince William's 52nd District, whose prediction echoed that of other members interviewed last week before the legislature convened yesterday.

Nonetheless, this year's session shouldn't be a total bust, according to the legislators. Among the supervisors' favored initiatives with good odds for passage: funds to expand the Prince William-Manassas regional jail, money to build a group home for girls and measures to assist the county's ride-sharing program for commuters.

Prince William is also likely to fare well, the legislators said, under state initiatives to increase funding for day care subsidies for low-income parents and for Virginia's Community Services Board, which sponsors various mental health programs. "I'm positive Prince William will be very pleased when the time for adjournment comes," said Del. David G. Brickley, a Democrat from the 51st District, which includes Dale City.

For Prince William officials, the weak prospects on the tax proposals are as disappointing as they are unsurprising. The supervisors -- arguing that their increasingly urban county deserves the same taxing privileges granted to Virginia cities -- for years have pressed for the same items they are asking for this session.

The quest for revenue this year has a special urgency. In 1987, the county board gave voters a deep, election-year reduction in the real estate property tax rate. Few observers of Prince William's political scene were surprised last week when County Executive Robert S. Noe Jr. announced that the local government was starved for revenue, and a substantial increase in the real estate tax is in the offing.

Prince William's measures for increased taxing authority are likely to fall short this year, state officials said, for the same reasons these and many other items on the agenda of Northern Virginia localities have failed in the past. Legislators from the state's rural areas still hold powerful sway in Richmond, and they remain deeply suspicious of attempts by urbanizing localities such as Prince William and Fairfax to increase their autonomy.

"I'd like to see the strings loosened," said County Board Chairwoman Kathleen K. Seefeldt (D-Occoquan), who lobbies frequently for the county in Richmond. "Turn the question around: Why shouldn't counties have the same flexibility as cities?"

Many state legislators, on the other hand, have an ingrained caution toward ideas of the sort Seefeldt advocates. "Generally, what the supervisors want from the legislature is for the legislature to raise taxes so the supervisors can spend them," Rollison said.

There are some items on Prince William's list of legislative priorities with which the supervisors might be doing well if they can eke out a partial victory. For example, Prince William for years has run up against the powerful development lobby in the county's failed attempts to win the right to impose an "adequate facilities" law. Such a law would allow the county board the right to deny development applications unless the developer supplied the additional roads, sewers and other public facilities required by his project.

Although a sweeping public facilities law is just as implausible this year as in the past, the prospects are much better for a scaled-back proposal, one that would allow Prince William to impose "subdivision fees" on some developers to pay for road construction, according to Brickley. The more modest initiative would apply to the county land zoned for intensive development before 1976 -- when the county won limited rights to negotiate with developers for public improvements before approving their projects.

County officials should not hold their breath waiting for the state government to approve the Prince William Center for Higher Education, a proposed satellite campus of George Mason University to be operated jointly with Northern Virginia Community College. Although some Prince William legislators said the General Assembly ultimately will look favorably on this idea, it's not likely to be during 1988.

Despite the mixed record of successes and failures likely to come out of this year's session, members of the county board and the General Assembly delegation said the two groups are more cooperative now than in the past when each group accused the other of being ineffectual and unreasonable. "The relationship is much better than it's been in the past," said Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Manassas).