Dollar-squeezed state governments again are sinking their teeth deeper and deeper into taxpayer wallets. The trend toward state levy reductions that began in the late 1970s not only has run its course but, for the second straight year, is moving in the opposite direction.
Within the past 10 months tax boosts totaling $3.1 billion, the largest increase in a decade, were approved by lawmakers across the United States.
And further increases - perhaps more than a few of them - seem almost certain in 1982, even though it will be an election year for governorships and legislative seats in most states.
While declining to speculate concerning which levies might be raised and to what extent, those close to the scene, like Dr. Robert Schleck of Tax Foundation Inc., warn there is ''almost no way some states can get by much longer without additional revenue,'' as politically unpopular as such levy raises might be.
Federal-aid cutbacks, coupled with continuing inflation rather than poor management by state officials, is the main cause of the mounting fiscal dilemma confronting many states, sources lament.
The less than rosy state tax outlook comes at a time when per capita state taxes - the average cost to every man, woman, and child - throughout the nation have reached $607, more than double the level of 10 years ago, according to the Tax Foundation.
The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit research and information agency found that per capita state taxes ranged from $3,594 in remote and sparsely populated Alaska and $1,035 in remote Hawaii, to $392 in South Dakota and $290 in New Hampshire.
Ranking behind the two leaders for the dubious distinction of heavy taxation levels were Delaware $867, Wyoming $824, California $818, Miichigan $786, New York $724, Wisconsin $715, New Mexico $712, and Washington $706.
That the net annual state tax reductions of $2.3 billion in 1978 and $2 billion in 1979 may be a thing of the past is underscored by the fact this year's $3.1 billion overall increases are more than seven times greater than the
A Monitor survey shows that 37 states and the District of Columbia have increased existing or imposed at least one new tax thus far in 1981. The exceptions, which include some states where revenue-producing measures are still pending, are Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas.
State revenue measures approved thus far at 1981 lawmaking sessions include:
* Sales tax rate increases in four states - Minnesota from 4 percent to 5 percent, Nevada from 3.5 percent to 5 percent, Ohio from 4 percent to 5.1 percent, and West Virginia from 3 to 5 percent. Tennessee retained for another year it 1.5 percent temporary increase on its 3.5 percent permanent levy.
* Broadening, at least slightly, the sales tax base in four states - Kansas, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia.
* Liquor tax boosts in 12 states - Indiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
* Cigarette taxes boosts in seven states - 13 to 18 cents a pack in Iowa, 13 to 14 cents a pack in Nebraska, from 15 cents a pack to 5 percent of the retail cost (an increase equivalent to between 2 and 5 cents a pack) in Ohio, 9 to 16 cents a pack in Oregon, 14 to 15 cents a pack in South Dakota, 16 to 20 cents a pack in Washington State, and 16 to 20 cents a pack in Wisconsin.
* Gasoline tax hikes ranging from 1 cent to 4.5 cents a gallon in 22 states Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada , New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennerssee, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.
* Severance taxes for extraction of certain natural resources, such as oil, coal, precious metals, and timber increases in 12 states - Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming. In the latter, for example, a new 2 percent levy on petroleumn and natural gas is involved.
* Other business tax boosts, including corporate income excess profits, and gross receipts taxes of various types in at least seven states - Alaska, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
* Meals and rooms tax increases from 6 percent to 7 percent in New Hampshire.
Largely spared from the upward levy trend has been personal income taxes. No state raised its rates this year, although Pennsylvania extended through 1983 its temporary 0.2 percent surcharge on the state's permanent 2 percent tax. The new Pennsylvania add-on levy was to have run only through the end of 1982.
Passage of the year's heftiest tax package - amounting to $600 million in the current fiscal year which ends next July 1 and an additional $700 million increase in the following year, came in Ohio.
The revenue package, signed into law Nov. 14 by Gov. James Rhodes, along with the sales, cigarette, and corporate tax hikes, includes placing banks and other thrift institutions under the business income tax, a new levy on syrups used in making soft drinks, higher levies on utility firms, and increases in state assessments on the net worth of Ohio-based insurance companies.
The second biggest 1981 tax-boost package, amounting to some $350 million, was approved in New York State for funding mass transit. The measure includes upping the sales tax from 8 percent to 8.25 percent in New York City and 7 percent to 7.25 percent in the metropolitan area, a new 10 percent capital gains tax on real estate transactions in New York City, a 0.75 percent levy on oil company gross receipts in the state, and changes in computation of the oil franchise tax.
Although Illinois state lawmakers imposed no new taxes this year, the scheduled reduction of the sales tax on food from 3 percent to 2 percent was postponed for another year.
Meanwhile, in Chicago the sales tax was raised from 6 percent to 7 percent and the cigarette tax from 5 cents to 10 cents a pack. The two levy boosts, in effect on Aug. 1, are expected to net the Windy City $113 million a year.