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July 24, 2014, 8:40 am

Food stamp eligibility numbers rise in Pa.

An increasing number of Philadelphians are eligible for food stamps, according to a new report from the city controller’s office, which found that more than a third of the city’s residents are eligible for the program.

Since 2008, Philadelphia has seen a 37 percent increase in this number, making 31 percent of the city’s population eligible for the program. As of November 2012, 477,878 people met the guidelines for food stamps. That was up from a total of 348,545 in 2008.

The figures were part of economic snapshot released monthly by Controller Alan Butkovitz.

The trend in Philadelphia mirrored that from across the state and the five-county region, where the increases were even more dramatic.

In Chester and Montgomery counties the increases were nearly 98 percent.

Figures for Chester County showed that 25,522 people were eligible, up from 12,904 in 2008, an increase of 97.8 percent. Montgomery County saw a 97.4 percent over the same period with 50,088 people now eligible compared to 25,380.

Bucks County numbers rose nearly 80 percent.

According to the report, 38,576 people in Bucks County were eligible for food stamps, up from 21,477 in 2008, an increase of 79.6 percent.

Delaware County saw a 49.4 percent increase rising from 44,778 to 66,913.

Statewide, food stamp eligibility has risen from 1.3 million in November 2008 to 1.8 million in November 2012, a 45 percent jump.

On a more positive note, the report also detailed an increase in tax revenue for the first half of the fiscal year.

Revenue totaled $922 million, a $44 million increase over the same period last year.

Butkovitz attributed the 5 percent year-over-year increase to the strong pace of collections for wage, earnings and net profits and sales tax revenues. Collections for both the City and PICA portion of wage, net profits and earnings taxes totaled $771 million, a four percent increase over last year.

Yearly sales tax revenues totaled almost $128 million, which was also a four percent increase over last year’s collections. Overall, more than half of the city’s total tax categories were either at or above last year’s collection amounts.

To view the Economic Forecast and Monthly Snapshot, please visit the City Controller’s website at www.philadelphiacontroller.org.