Morning Must Reads: Economic Austerity and School Lunch

More evidence of the lingering effects of economic austerity: Allegheny County looks headed for a property tax increase.

A tax hike appears likely for Allegheny County property owners next year after a county council committee recommended raising the real estate millage rate...

If the tax-rate increase to 5.69 mills is approved by a two-thirds majority of council, the owners of a property assessed at $100,000 will see their county tax bill rise $100, from $469 this year to $569 next year.

It would be the first millage increase under the 12-year-old executive-council form of government.

The New York Times this morning reports that the number of students participating in the subsidized school lunch program has risen sharply. The story is based on new data. Graphed below is older data for Pennsylvania and the U.S.

Steve Hebert, The New York TimesLine Grows Long for Free Meals at U.S. Schools:

Since 2007, the proportion of fourth graders eligible for free or reduced-price lunches through the federal government’s school meals program has increased nationwide to 52 percent, from 46 percent.

Below is a map from The New York Times story showing in which states more than half of all students are so poor they are eligible for a subsidized lunch (the darker red states). Remember this map next time a member of the business lobby tells you that economic policy in Pennsylvania should be more like economic policy in Southern states. The business lobby believes in low wages and free lunches.

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