President Reagan's budget proposals would stop the flow of millions of federal dollars to area governments, but, in contrast to last year, suburban Washington officials raised few protests yesterday, singling out threats against the Metro subway system as their major concern.
In the District, officials said it was too early to assess the impact of cuts proposed in the president's budget for fiscal 1987. But a spokesman for the Coalition on Human Needs, a national umbrella group representing social service organizations, said community development block grants in the city would be cut 32 percent; summer youth employment would fall 36 percent and community services block grants to help the poor would be eliminated.
Howard University received a double whammy; already hit with a severe cuts under the automatic deficit reduction law known as Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, the university's budget would be reduced to $154 million. Galludet College, that nation's only liberal arts college for the deaf, suffered similar blows, bringing its budget down to $61 million.
The Reagan administration has proposed eliminating numerous programs, such as general revenue sharing, which provided more than $22 million to the Washington suburbs. Other programs targeted for cuts or elimination include Amtrak, EPA sewage treatment plants, subsidized housing, youth employment programs, federal subsidies for meals in schools, vocational training, Legal Services Corp., and refugee assistance programs.
Despite the Reagan administration calls for cuts, the reaction of local officials was markedly different from past years, when similar proposals brought howls of protest from local governments. District officials were generally mute about the proposed reductions, while suburban officials reacted with equanimity.
Tim Ayers, spokesman for Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening, said yesterday, "We knew most of this. The general revenue sharing cuts we had already accommodated, as well as the community development block grants . . . . We're not taking a blind view of this. There is a serious need to reduce the deficit and we know everyone has to bite the bullet."
Just 12 months ago, Ayers said it would be "extraordinarily devastating to the county" to eliminate revenue sharing, and Glendening said the proposed cuts would "destroy the stability" of county finances.
Glendening and Ayers said that the change in attitude is due, in part, to the improved financial situation of the county because of lower inflation and lower interest rates the county must pay when it floats bonds. Ayers said that county officials also want to concentrate their efforts on protecting federal money for the Metro subway system, a sentiment shared by officials of other counties.
Local jurisdictions enjoy several programs that Reagan would like to reduce:
*Fairfax and Montgomery Counties, for example, receive significant amounts of money from general revenue sharing, which the president's budget would eliminate. Fairfax got $8.3 million for this year, and Montgomery County got $9.8 million. Arlington got $2.5 million; Prince George's $1.8 million.
*Mark Jinks, Arlington budget director, said that Reagan administration plans to phase out the Environmental Protection Agency sewage treatment grants could be costly to the county. The EPA is currently talking to Arlington and Alexandria about improving their two sewage treatment facilities. If the agency decides the improvements must be made to improve water quality, then the work could cost $50-$75 million; and Arlington was anticipating EPA assistance in paying for the costly project.
*Arlington used its $2.2 million community development block grant to pay for the rehabilitation of low and moderate income housing, so a reduction in that money would slow down efforts to provide affordable housing for the poor, officials said.
*Montgomery and Fairfax, which each received more than $4 million in community development money for capital improvements, used it to improve streets, storm drainage and housing in deteriorating neighborhoods. In Fairfax, money was also used to help private, nonprofit groups providing housing, and the Woodley-Nightengale Trailer Park housing project, according to Verdia L. Haywood, deputy county executive.
*The youth summer employment funds provided jobs to 850 disadvanataged youth in Fairfax during the past 18 months, and 200 jobs to youth in Arlington last summer. Officials said they did not know if the counties would continue the programs without federal funds.
*Howard University's $164 million budget for fiscal 1986 would be reduced by $13 million under the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law. Reagan requested $154 million for fiscal 1987, lower than last year's funding, and the Education Department warned that its "long-term strategy is to decrease Howard's dependence on" federal aid.
Gallaudet College would lose $3 million under Gramm-Rudman-Hollings. The college was scheduled to receive $62 million in fiscal 1986, but has already begun across- the-board cuts to achieve a $3 million reduction because of the deficit reduction bill. The proposed budget for fiscal 1987 is almost $61 million.
For federal workers, the new budget recommends a 4 percent October pay raise for military personnel and a 3 percent pay increase in January 1987 for civilian federal employes. The raise would be largely offset by increasing employe contributions to the civil service retirement fund from 7 percent to 9 percent beginning next year.
Area budget analysts are also watching the local economy, which is sensitive to swings in the size and activities of the federal bureaucracy, which employes 347,000 federal civilian workers in the Washington area. President Reagan's budget proposals for the civil service is a rerun of earlier proposals, which were rejected by Congress, and amounts to a cut of about 36,000 of the 2.8 million total federal jobs over the next fiscal year.
"Federal spending levels can have a significant impact on the local community," said Jinks, Arlington's budget director. "Salary cuts for federal workers can affect the sale of consumer goods. Cutbacks in federal contracts can mean that the demand for local office space may slacken."