ANNAPOLIS, MARCH 1 -- The Maryland Senate budget committee took an ax to some of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's prized economic development programs today, as the political warfare escalated in what is shaping up as the Battle of Annapolis.

An angry Schaefer, still smarting from legislative rejections last week, lashed out at lawmakers he said were "having a really great time" killing his proposals. Retaliation may be in the works, and a likely target is $5 million for magnet schools in Prince George's County, home of the man he views as most responsible for his legislative defeats, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.

"I propose and he disposes," Schaefer said in an impromptu encounter with reporters, after canceling for the second time in less than a week a scheduled news conference. "They've been disposing of {the administration's programs} like wildfire."

Legislators seem both amused and increasingly alarmed at the level of acrimony between Schaefer and leaders of the 188-member General Assembly. Schaefer has tried to control his tongue in public -- one aide said the governor scuttled the news conference because he was afraid of what he might say -- but those who have talked to him in private are astonished at the intensity of his rage.

A telephone conversation between Miller and Schaefer did nothing to calm the waters. "He said, 'I like you like a father,' " Schaefer recounted. "I said, 'Do you hate your father that much?' "

Those who have talked to Schaefer privately say he has written off the prospects of a successful session, although legislators say that is a premature and unrealistic evaluation. Schaefer took a pessimistic view today with reporters: "Every new program, every new initiative -- gone."

The cuts today came from the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, which is reviewing the governor's proposed $9.8 billion budget. Committee members dealt Schaefer setbacks on proposals ranging from a golf course he wants to build in Western Maryland to a $20 million fund he wants for luring industries to Maryland.

Panel members also reversed a vote they took last weekend that would have slightly sweetened what for Schaefer was a bitter compromise on the light-rail project he proposed for the metropolitan Baltimore area. Today the same legislators, after consulting with Senate leaders, decided to take back $4 million they had added to the program on Saturday.

Committee Chairman Laurence Levitan (D-Montgomery) tried to sound conciliatory, even after the committee slashed Schaefer's economic development fund to $5 million. "It's not everything the governor asked for, but it's a start," Levitan said. "I would trust the governor understands that."

Schaefer is not used to resistance, and has complained that legislators are rejecting his programs not because they are bad, but because he hasn't followed Annapolis' rigid rules of protocol -- for example, checking with legislative leaders before announcing major iniatives. The public suffers for their egos, he says.

But legislators say Schaefer believes the General Assembly's job is to rubber-stamp his programs, and that he could spare himself the embarrassment of defeats if he would adhere to simple courtesies.

"There's no war, believe me," Miller told reporters, trying to play down his role in the feud. "Other governors have been turned down and it hasn't been war."

Schaefer's harsh words are "driving the House and Senate to work together," Levitan said.

Others are worried about the consequences of the battle.

"Here we are at war between the executive and legislative branches -- war based on personalities, not issues," said Western Maryland Republican Sen. John Bambacus. "You're dealing with hardball players on both sides who are not going to back down."

It appears the message that Schaefer is preparing is that he understands hardball politics. He personally telephoned the office of state Sen. Frank Komenda (D-Prince George's) and left a somewhat cryptic message for Komenda: "Why are you opposing magnet school supplemental appropriation?"

Komenda, of course, is a supporter of funds for the county's magnet schools. The real message, Komenda believes, is that the governor was threatening to withhold the $5 million that Schaefer had planned to include in a supplemental budget for Prince George's schools. Komenda opposed the light-rail project and voted against Schaefer's plan for a residential high school for math and science students, which two Senate committees killed last week.

Asked about the incident, Schaefer said he didn't think there would be enough money in the supplemental budget for the project.

A worried Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening said he believes the money could be restored "if the leadership of the Senate settles down a little bit." He said schoolchildren would be the losers "in this political play."

The Schaefer proposals cut or modified today include:

A golf course for Rocky Gap State Park that would be designed by Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus would still be able to begin design work on the course, but lawmakers said they will not support construction unless a private developer agrees to build a conference center at the site. A $10 million "contingency fund" that legislators eliminated without comment.