Gov. John N. Dalton forecast yesterday that Virginia would lose $207.2 million in state revenues during the next three years as a result of Reagan administration cuts in corporate, individual and estate taxes.
In his first long-term fiscal prediction since passage of the president's program, Dalton, a firm Reagan supporter, said Virginia's tax losses would come on top of several hundred million dollars in federal aid cuts to the state. The losses in state taxes will occur, officials said, because Virginia's revenues are keyed to the federal tax laws.
"I don't believe Virginia has ever had a governor faced with the duty of preparing a biennial budget with tax cuts of this magnitude to deal with," Dalton told a joint meeting of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees in Richmond.
Dalton did not announce what cuts he would recommend in state spending, but other state officials have said that social programs would be the chief target for curtailment. "I don't think it's any question," the governor told reporters yesterday, "that people who get food stamps and welfare might blame the party in power."
A spokesman for Gov.-elect Charles S. Robb declined to comment on Dalton's predictions, saying that Robb would make no statements about Virginia's budget before he takes office next month. Robb has previously said he would attempt to avoid any tax increases and has termed education programs a "sacred cow."
Dalton proposed two tax measures yesterday, which he labeled "noncontroversial," to avert additional tax losses of $35 million.
The legislation would be aimed at Virginia taxpayers who claim new federal credits for child care or the announced revisions in federal taxes for households with two working spouses.
Virginia already allows both of these tax breaks and, state officials said, Dalton's proposals would retain the current Virginia tax provisions while disallowing any increase in these credits or deductions because of the new federal tax laws.
The impact of Reagan's tax cuts on the revenues of various states has already caused considerable national concern. Many states, including Virginia, allow taxpayers to base their state income-tax computations largely on their federal returns. The National Governors' Association estimated in August, shortly after the Reagan measure was passed, that the link between federal and state taxes would cost states $2.3 billion in the 1982 fiscal year.
The Reagan administration's tax legislation reduced corporate taxes through various changes, including an accelerated depreciation formula that allows faster writeoffs for new plants and equipment. It virtually eliminated estate taxes. And it cut individual income taxes by reducing tax rates and allowing additional credits and deductions, such as those for individual retirement accounts and savings certificates.
Dalton again praised the president's moves yesterday, saying, "I think in the long run the tax cuts will assist the nation."
The predicted loss of tax revenues would further squeeze Virginia's approximately $6 billion annual budget, already buffeted by the economic recession and other federal cuts. Virginia officials say they have not yet calculated precisely how federal aid reductions would affect state programs.
Dalton estimated that the state will have $176.3 million less than previously expected this year and in the coming two fiscal years if the loss in tax revenues, earlier surpluses, the recession and other changes in state revenue and spending are taken into account.
He attributed much of the predicted loss in tax revenues -- some $128.6 million -- to reduced corporate taxes. Another $71.1 million loss was attributed to lower individual income taxes. The remaining $7.5 million would be losses in estate taxes.
Dalton warned that growth in Virginia's operating funds in coming years would be "dramatically below" what occurred in the late 1970s.