Unlike David Sears {Letters, Dec. 18} I'm happy that Howard Denis is my state senator and support his reasoned criticism of the Linowes Commission report.

But even the estimable Sen. Denis missed the fundamental flaw in the Linowes study: Before inventing more innovative ways to tax us, it should first have determined how to cut the fat from the state's budget.

Amid the wailing over cutbacks in the state's swollen bureaucracy, no one seems to have noticed that the Schaefer administration has added 8,700 employees during the past six years and was planning to hire another 2,200 this year.

And, before deciding how much Montgomery County should give to allegedly poorer jurisdictions, it first should have determined what the latter are doing for themselves.

For example, Garrett County, one of the intended recipients of our largess, has reduced its property tax in each of the past 10 years. Meantime, property taxes in Montgomery rose 10 percent per year between 1984 and 1990 to finance -- what else? -- pay and benefit hikes averaging 10 percent per year for an additional 5,000 employees in four county agencies.

Before embroidering the myth of Montgomery County's wealth, Mr. Sears should look at the facts. Only 6 percent of our county taxpayers report incomes of $100,000 or more to the state, and a drop-off of $43 million in income tax payments by the 2 percent making over $200,000 a year has created a budget crisis.

Thirty percent of our taxpayers report incomes between $10,000 and $30,000 and only 19 percent between $30,000 and $50,000. The middle-income class is beginning to leave Montgomery County. A $100 million deficit looms, and county employees are demanding another round of hyperinflationary pay raises.

We have to fix our own financial jalopy -- which has turned out to be a Chevy instead of a Mercedes -- before we can even think about giving spare parts to others. ROBERT DENNY Chairman Fairness In Taxation Bethesda