With their city facing a $110 million budget deficit, more and more San Jose residents are weighing into the budget debate. In a recent letter to the Merc, San Jose resident Robert Lindley argued that San Jose residents should be “ashamed” for demanding that their public servants should “give up pay and retirement security so that those citizens will pay no more taxes.” Lindley goes on to say that “the city’s budget shortfall is the responsibility of all residents.” Really?
“I bristle at Robert Lindley’s accusation, ‘the citizens of San Jose should be ashamed’ regarding the taxes needed to pay city employees and their retirement security,” responded Frank Fletcher. “San Jose must re-evaluate its entire structure, including the city’s basic responsibilities…the city needs to show why we need more taxes and exactly how this money will be used…”
In another letter, San Jose resident Glenn Stansbury offered: “As a person who now lives on half of his former salary, I find it hard to master sympathy for public employees who may have to forgo cost of living increases…until politicians start addressing pensions, we cannot increase taxes fast enough to pay for the services we need.”
Let’s stop kidding ourselves….San Jose doesn’t have any “public servants,” they are the masters…they call the shots. In San Jose, public service is spelled, “public, serve us!” The system is broken, and the city is broke. Process has trumped purpose. The priority of the San Jose city budget is to “make payroll” rather than to provide the optimal level of city services. For almost ten years, city service levels have been reduced to help pay for increases in public worker compensation and benefits.
The following question illustrates just how far things have fallen: Should funding be eliminated for school crossing guards so that public employees can have their pension bump? This is not a rhetorical question, but one that is currently under consideration.