ANNAPOLIS, NOV. 19 -- Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer said today he supports raising more money from the state's sales tax, and added that other political leaders have lacked the "intestinal fortitude" to restructure the state's tax system.

But Schaefer, who won reelection two weeks ago, stopped short of embracing a gubernatorial commission's recommendations for $800 million in tax increases aimed largely at helping Baltimore and poorer counties improve education and other services.

The recommendations were contained in a draft report by the Maryland Commission on State Taxes and Tax Structure, headed by Montgomery County lawyer R. Robert Linowes. The report is scheduled for a final vote next week, but some members of the General Assembly, especially from the Washington suburbs, have vehemently criticized the proposals as ill-timed and unfair.

During a news conference today, Schaefer reacted testily to weekend news leaks about the commission's findings. While insisting he hadn't read a complete draft report, the governor said he supports eliminating some sales tax exemptions but wouldn't commit to the recommendation increasing the sales tax from 5 cents to 5.5 cents on the dollar.

"Some changes in the tax structure need to be made," Schaefer said. "There isn't any question about that. Some of the things Mr. Linowes has proposed should have been done in the past."

The commission will recommend expanding the sales tax to cover many services, ranging from car repairs to lawn care. It also would raise the state income tax rates for families with annual incomes greater than $40,000 and impose a 2 percent annual tax on the value of cars and boats. At the same time, property taxes would be trimmed initially and simplified. The commission agreed to leave an optional income tax -- called the piggyback tax -- under the control of counties.

Attempting to ease inequities in funding for education and other local government programs, the commission also suggested that more than half the $800 million in net additional revenue be sent disproportionately to poorer counties. Wealthier counties, such as Montgomery, contend that is an unfair transfer of funds.

For example, all the proposals together would earmark $484 million to the state's 23 counties and Baltimore; Baltimore would receive the largest share, $150 million, while Montgomery, the wealthiest and largest jurisdiction, would receive $12.4 million.

Montgomery residents also would pay a large share of the higher taxes. Montgomery residents contribute about 24 percent of state personal income tax receipts, and 15 percent of sales tax revenue is generated there. Since the new proposals would increase rates for wealthier residents, Montgomery's portion likely would grow.

"This looks like a couple of hundred million tax increase {in Montgomery County} that's going to benefit everybody but us," said Del. Gene W. Counihan (D-Montgomery). "That doesn't seem to me to be a very good deal."

Linowes said the commission had avoided making calculations on where the additional revenue was to come from. He called such information immaterial.

"It's like someone living in Maryland and someone else living in Arkansas. They pay the same income tax based on their earnings. That's the way it should be," Linowes said. "We're just asking for reasonableness and fairness as far as assuming responsibilities in this state."

Early critics of the commission's recommendations say they run counter to the message delivered by voters Nov. 6.

Schaefer, however, said today that "people are never ready for a tax increase." Without additional revenue, he added, "You just won't be able to take care of poor subdivisions, which should be done."

Last week, Schaefer began making what could eventually total more than $300 million in cuts from current spending to avoid a shortfall next spring. Asked today if some of the $800 million in proposed tax increases could go to prop up the state budget, Schaefer replied: "I hadn't thought of that."

Such a move, however, likely would generate even more opposition.

"The voters indicated to the people they elected that they want us to govern in January without raising taxes," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Prince George's).

Said Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening: "It would be a big mistake if a general tax increase went through only to cover a budget shortfall. I don't think citizens are prepared to pay taxes to maintain the current level of services."