RICHMOND, NOV. 8 -- A new round of budget cuts that Gov. L. Douglas Wilder has told state agencies to plan because of Virginia's flagging economy would slash deep into the quality of educational and social service programs, according to state legislators, local officials and interest groups.

Wilder's budget director, Karen F. Washabau, told state agencies this week to brace themselves for further cuts totaling about $175 million on top of the more than $1.3 billion that already has been slashed from state spending.

In his frequent national travels, Wilder has said Virginia has made the cuts by "choosing between necessities and niceties" -- cutting waste and frivolities but leaving government services intact.

But there was widespread agreement today, even among Wilder appointees, that new cutbacks would trim more than the fat from those programs and would inflict pain on Virginians who rely on the services they provide.

"Without any question, any further reductions would affect the quality of services," said King Davis, head of the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services.

In a memorandum, Washabau said that whether the new cuts are ordered will hinge on the state's next forecast of tax collections, which will be issued next month.

But because of the "continuing slowdown in the economy" and new costs of Medicaid and other federal programs mandated by Congress, Washabau said, the possibility exists that state agencies will be ordered to cut back by 7.5 percent or more just a few months after most agencies made cuts of similar size.

Wilder press secretary Laura Dillard said the latest budget reduction would be similar to the one during the summer. "Everything is on the table," with the exception of tax increases, she said.

New cuts, even more so than in the last round, would be felt by residents at the local level, Northern Virginia officials said.

"We've just about gotten through the fat, down to the muscle and near the bone," said Prince William Supervisor Edwin C. King (D-Dumfries), who fears cuts in state aid to local governments for jail construction, halfway houses for delinquent youths and education.

Madeline Wade, president of the Virginia Education Association, said schools already have been hit too hard by more than $170 million that Wilder plans to cut from education aid to local districts.

"Since when is education considered a nicety?" asked Wade, who urged Wilder to raise taxes if necessary.

Administration officials declined to speculate on what the new budget shortfall amount might be when Wilder appears before the General Assembly's tax and appropriations panels Dec. 16 to give revenue estimates.

Del. Robert E. Harris (R-Fairfax), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said he expects tax collections to be down between $150 million and $300 million, in addition to a previously announced $1.35 billion budget hole.

Finance Secretary Paul W. Timmreck has said that state tax collections during the first quarter of the fiscal year that began July 1 are up by slightly more than 1 percent, instead of the 3 percent growth that was predicted.

Harris said the news of possible further cuts is especially disheartening because the administration has yet to divulge how it plans to distribute about $130 million in local school aid for next fiscal year. "They're giving us broad brush strokes," he said, "but we {legislators} need to see the details."

Washabau's memo would not produce cuts affecting transportation. Road-building in Virginia is financed by user fees.

But Transportation Secretary John G. Milliken said revenue from those sources also is falling off as gasoline consumption declines because of the rise in prices since the Persian Gulf crisis.

In other budget news today, Davis said the mental health department is going ahead with its plan to close a unit for elderly psychiatric patients at Western State Hospital in Staunton by Jan. 1.

"There will not be a reduction in the quality of care through these transfers," Davis maintained.