US forms return-the-power panel

To help reverse a flow of local and state power to Washington, the White House has formed a Presidential Advisory Committee on Federalism, Monitor correspondent richard Cattani reports.

"the people who make up state and local governments are as capable as any in Washington, D.C.," President Reagan said in a written statement. "We need to provide for greater authority and responsibility in the states, counties, cities , and towns -- to return government to those closest to the people most affected."

The advisory committee will be chaired by a longtime Reagan backer, Sen. Paul Laxalt (R) of Nevada. The 40 members of the committee will be divided among governors, state legislators, mayors, county officials, members of the US Senate and House, and private citizens.

Senator Laxalt will also chair a White House Coordinating Task Force on Federalism. Among the task members are the Health, Education, Interior, and Treasury secretaries, Budget Director David Stockman, and top White House aides Edwin Meese III and James Baker III.

The administration's budget and economic package already contains measures to redirect federal financial responsibility for many programs to the states. The new advisory committee and task force will draw up an overall defederalization blueprint and issue interim report s, before going out of business at the end of 1982.

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