Angry state lawmakers estimate that the budget compromise between the White House and Congress reached in October will add $17 billion in new costs to already strained state budgets over the next five years, and force most of them to increase state taxes next year.

Members of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), in town this week to appeal to Congress for relief, said the federal government has severely exacerbated their recession-driven budget woes by raising federal excise taxes and enacting new and expensive mandates of what states must provide in such areas as Medicaid and enforcing clean air standards.

"I see a billion dollars here and a billion dollars there of {additional} state match{ing dollars}," said Ohio state Sen. Richard Finan (R). "Don't they understand at all how difficult that is for us to deal with?"

NCSL president John Martin (D), the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, said two-thirds of the states will be forced to cut spending or raise taxes to balance their budgets for the fiscal year that ends in June. The next fiscal year, he said, will be worse.

"We went through seven or eight years where the public was convinced you could continue to spend money . . . and implement programs without funding them," Martin said. "Some of these costs are coming home to roost."

State officials estimate the federal tax increases enacted as part of the budget compromise will reduce spending on such items as gasoline and liquor -- lowering the state revenues from levies they place on the same products. The higher federal taxes will also make it harder for states to raise their own excise taxes on these items.

The nickel increase in the federal gasoline tax, for example, will raise $25 billion for the federal government but cost the states $2.8 billion. Similarly, the increased taxes on cigarettes and alcohol will add $14.7 billion to federal coffers while potentially costing states $746 million.

California stands to lose the most -- $408 million over five years -- in forfeited excise tax receipts, according to NCSL analysts. Maryland would lose $69 million and Virginia $96 million over the same period.

NCSL budget analysts determined that the budget agreement included 20 new mandates for states, including requirements that states enforce new clean air standards and implement tougher drunk driving laws or risk losing federal highway funds.

The lawmakers said they are unhappy with mandates they feel have been forced on them by Congress.

"Our caseload is the same," said Finan, who maintains that Ohio's budget would be in the black were it not for additional Medicaid responsibilities passed on by the federal government. Congress required that Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for the poor, add to its infant care and care for the frail elderly, among other things. "It's just now we're required to pay more and more, and it only gets worse."

Finan said state leaders are "tremendously frustrated" by the federal govenment's willingness to pass the buck on deficit reduction.

Elected officials across the nation spent the last campaign attempting to head off brewing property tax revolts that placed a record number of tax limitation initiatives on state ballots. Only two passed, but governors and state lawmakers have said in post-election analyses they expect voter unhappiness to grow.

"These folks {senators and representatives} haven't really caught on to the picture," Utah state Sen. LeRay McAllister (R) said in a meeting of NCSL's budget committee yesterday. "Maybe we do need to throw the rascals out. This is just another smoke and mirrors effort."

"Either they lack the information or the conviction to do anything about it," said Georgia state Rep. Terry Coleman (D), panel chairman.

Martin predicted legislatures will have to grapple with rising expenditures for big-ticket items such as Medicaid, corrections and education. In Michigan and Pennsylvania, governors have already pledged not to raise taxes. In Florida, a 1990 tax increase was not enough to ward off a potential $1.4 billion revenue shortfall this year.

Lawmakers have begun responding by proposing property tax relief, hoping to make up the difference by raising sales, business and personal income taxes.