In the June 26 editorial "Mr. Istook's Take on the Budget," The Post advocated automatic triggers to halt tax cuts in the District "if the economy slows down," saying, "Halting the phase-in of the tax cuts is far preferable to automatically slashing spending in ways that could hamper much-needed improvements in services."

Actually, The Post is the only entity suggesting we would "slash" spending in the District, using that emotionally charged word in both the editorial and also in the news story "House Panel Chairman Wants to Protect D.C. Tax Cuts" [Metro, June 24].

The word "slash" suggests an indiscriminate and thoughtless approach to reducing spending, which is an approach I certainly would not entertain. No matter what the economic future is for the District, our subcommittee will remain in close contact with the mayor, council and control board to constantly evaluate courses of action. Few people would suggest that the District cannot find responsible ways to further control its spending.

Furthermore, tax cuts will provide a dramatic boost to the District only if people and businesses know with certainty that the tax reductions will occur; otherwise, they won't make the economic plans and investments that the city seeks. The mayor and council have acted boldly and responsibly to reverse longtime government trends as the key to reversing negative trends in the District. It is hard to overstate how great the benefits can be to Washington.

It is an ambitious challenge to improve services while reducing taxes, but Washington's elected leaders have accepted that challenge with vigor. They deserve congressional support with this challenge. I'm trying to provide just that.

ERNEST J. ISTOOK JR.

Washington

The writer, a Republican representative from Oklahoma, is chairman of the District of Columbia subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.