Diving into the overlooked factors that show how San Jose’s effective budget is larger than expected.
On-going negotiations with labor unions in San Jose have brought attention to worsening issues with recruiting and retaining city staff. As the city
struggles to fill over 860 vacant positions, employee unions have proposed
improvements to wages to make the city a more competitive employer.
In response, the administration has claimed that increases to salaries
would force cuts to services, as the city does not have resources within its
budget to support the union’s proposals.
However, these claims are based on the assumption that the city’s current
budget accurately and fairly forecasts its revenues and expenditures with
little room for adjustments.
Historically, the city’s budget has been an imperfect accounting tool and
forecasts have consistently missed the mark, leading to a decade of substantial budget surpluses. The primary driver of these surpluses has been
failing to accurately account for budget savings due to understaffing and
associated project and service delays.