Learning to Think Smaller

States and localities gear up to cope with federal slashes

As some 400 New England state officials listened glumly in a lecture hall at the University of Massachusetts' Boston campus last week, an official of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services droned on in a tongue known only to career bureaucrats, a patois of federal title numbers, "transmittals" and agency acronyms. The meeting was the first of eight regional briefings by the White House's Office of Management and Budget to explain the Reagan Administration's new block-grant program. The plan lumps together funds for some three dozen social service, education and...

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