- The Washington Times - Friday, June 20, 2014

Politicos just handed parents in New York City a huge entitlement at taxpayer expense — free lunches for all the school system’s middle-schoolers — in what critics are sure to bill as a nanny government run amok.

“It signals a new direction for New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, while announcing the $75 billion budget deal forged with the City Council, the New York Daily News reported.

The final deal agreed to represents a 7-percent increase, or $5 billion, over former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s last budget, and fiscal watchdogs are sure to attack, the New York Daily News said. Moreover, the $75 billion is $1.1 billion higher than what Mr. de Blasio himself proposed just a few weeks ago.

The budget included $6.2 million for 200 new civilian hires for the city’s police department, which means those officers now confined to desk duty will be able to return to street patrol.

“It’s going to have a very profound impact on the ground,” Mr. de Blasio said, the New York Daily News reported.

The budget also includes $6.25 million to give about 170,000 school-age children — the number of middle-schoolers in the city’s public school system — access to free lunches, starting this September. The benefit isn’t reliant on household income, but rather gifts the lunches for all middle-school students.

“This will help keep our schoolchildren fed, allowing them to focus on learning and not where their next meal will come from,” Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told the newspaper.

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