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“State-local gambling revenues from lotteries, casinos and racinos [which combine racing tracks and casinos] declined by 2.8 percent in fiscal 2009,” the Rockefeller Institute reported, noting it was “the first such decline in at least three decades.”

Preliminary data from 39 states also revealed a 2.6 percent decline in income from state lotteries, which are the largest source of gambling revenue.

New Hampshire, which has neither a state income tax nor a state sales tax, became the first state to institute a state lottery in 1964. Now, 42 states derive revenue from them. To bridge the huge and increasing gaps between revenues and spending, at least 25 states have considered expanding their gambling operations in the past year, the Rockefeller Institute reported.

Several states, including California, North Carolina and Colorado, are considering broadening the sales tax to encompass more services.

Between 1970 and 2007, services as a share of household consumption increased from 31 percent to 45 percent, according to Michael Mazerov, a senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Meanwhile, the traditional sales-tax base — durable goods (such as autos, furniture appliances) and nondurable goods (such as shoes and clothing) — declined as a share of household consumption from 39 percent in 1970 to 32 percent in 2007.

“During the boom years of the 1990s, states had little interest in updating their sales tax to reflect the shift toward a service-oriented economy,” said Mr. Mazerov. “Now, several states are looking at taxing more services, and more may join them if states’ budget problems continue.”

Taxing services is a growing trend that has appeal to conservatives and liberals alike.

“Targeting random populations” — like smokers and drinkers — “is bad tax policy,” said Joshua M. Culling, a state government affairs analyst at the National Taxpayers Union, which advocates lower taxes and smaller government. “Sound tax policy is lowering the tax rate and broadening the tax base.”

Concerned that the application of the regressive sales tax to more and more services would disproportionately affect low-income households, Mr. Mazerov offered a solution that some conservatives could accept. “The sales-tax base expansion can be balanced with other changes in the tax code, such as a reduction in the sales-tax rate,” he said.

Meanwhile, sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol have been playing a major role in state efforts to raise revenues, prompting some self-styled health care advocates to demand that snacks and soda and fatty foods such as meat and cheese should be taxed, as well.

“Obviously, it’s nickel-and-dime time,” said Tad DeHaven, a federal and state budget analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute. “They’re going after the unpopular, the less defensible, more vulnerable items like cigarettes, cigars and alcohol.”

Many sin-tax proponents cite Colonial-era British economist Adam Smith to justify their revenue-raising policies.

“Sugar, rum and tobacco are commodities which are nowhere necessaries of life, which are become objects of almost universal consumption, and which are therefore extremely proper subjects of taxation,” Smith wrote in his 1776 capitalist manifesto “The Wealth of Nations.”

From January through August, 13 states and the District of Columbia increased their tobacco taxes, according to a tally by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a conservative organization that advocates lower taxes and smaller government.

Rhode Island and Connecticut each raised their cigarette taxes by $1 to $3.46 per pack and $3 per pack, respectively. The cigarette tax in the nation’s capital jumped 50 cents to $2.50 per pack. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former chairman of Republican National Committee and lobbyist for tobacco companies, acquiesced to a 50-cent tax increase to 68 cents per pack.

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