Accounting Error Responsible for Deficit

City Manager Debra Figone held a press conference late last night to announce that the San Jose budget deficit, long estimated at $116 million, is the result of an accounting error and a misplaced decimal point. The real deficit is one order of magnitude smaller—just $11.6 million. Figone attributed to the error to the furloughs imposed on city employees: “With fewer employees and less time, no one has gone over the figures until now. It really does make a difference where you put the decimal point in your Excel spreadsheet.”

Mayor Chuck Reed, who could not attend the press conference, responded with the following statement: “It is a huge relief to have this burden taken off the city. This will allow us to proceed with many of our most cherished projects, and ensure San Jose’s growth and development over the next decade.”

The good news was greeted by calls from interest groups across the board, suggesting how the windfall might be spent. The teachers union demanded that all pink slips be withdrawn. Police and fire department representatives demanded a 15 percent raise, and threatened to strike if they did not receive it. Meanwhile, Councilmember Pete Constant called on the city to declare a tax holiday for the next two years to attract new businesses. Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio suggested that the city consider subsidizing medical marijuana instead of taxing it.

There is also no news as yet whether the sudden windfall would be gobbled up by state officials in Sacramento, looking to ease their own budget woes. According to Sacramento insiders, however, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has instructed state officials to pore over the state budget to see if a similar error was made there.
Read More at the San Jose News and World Report.


  1. Hah! A likely story.

    If they can make a one decimal point error, they can make a two decimal point error.

    In fact, it’s very likely they could make a plus/minus sign error, too.

    I’ll bet that there really isn’t any deficit.  They’re just hiding the fact that there’s a $1,160 budget SURPLUS.

    Time to re-open the union negotiations.

  2. The fact that the City Manager and the Mayor back more pot clubs in San Jose is because the Budget Office headed by Armando Gomez is getting off of mayo rubbing parties and heading to good drugs.

    Armando is back at math again.

  3. No Apology? No “we’re sorry” for laying off city employees or BASHING the Police and Fire Deptarments? And Oliverio, who stated that police and fire personal should just call in sick so we can save parks and libraries, justs wants to have a giant smoke out….NICE

  4. Oooops! The City Manager is responsible for keeping account of the city’s budget. She is obviously incompetent. Mayor Reed, it’s time to fire Figone. That’s the responible thing to do.

  5. They have been sending up these smoke signals for months, threatening lay-offs and massive service cuts to what…….defraud the employee unions into giving painful labor concessions and focusing the brunt of the “blame” on the police & fire employees?  SHAME SHAME SHAME. How incompetent is that?  How irresponsible?  I wonder if this was an intentional screw up or if it was truly a “mistake”.

  6. Critical Thinking 101

    Just because it is online doesn’t make it true.  Just because someone official says it, doesn’t make it true.  Just because a concerted PR effort repeats it multiple times, doesn’t make it true.  In politics, much of the dialogue is really spin and posturing.

    To be educated, informed and really involved, you have to invest a little work into finding the truth amidst all the spin, talking points and positions.

    This is obviously a cute April Fools joke, but is nicely illustrative of the power of political participants to feed lines to “consumers” who passively react without engaging.

    Other good examples – “The budget deficit is mainly because of the new city hall” “prop 13 is responsible for the failures of local government” “you can’t trust the government to do anything right”
    “San Jose must grow in population to increase its income”

  7. Council Docket for April 1

    9:00-9:30 Staff presents recommendation to include “Look for the Union Label” jingle into city hall’s muzak mix.

    9:30-10:00 Council hears environmental impact report re digging moat around city hall.

    10:00-10:30 Scientists from Monterey Bay acquarium present feasibility analysis on stocking the moat with sharks equipped with laser beams.

    10:30-11:00 Break.  Coffee and donuts supplied by SBLC.

    11:00-11:30 Lockheed Martin shows video of uparmored dais capable of withstanding direct RPG fire.

    90 minutes for lunch provided by SEIU.

    1:00-2:00 KBR consultants present report recommending Reid Hillview closure to minimize risk of constituents from flying small planes into new CH.

    2:00-3:00 Council to hear Bechtel proposal to build replicas of city hall at various locations around the city to confuse angry constituents who might be flying small planes.

    3:00-5:00 Council session ends with Mariachi and Mojitos provided by LaRaza Roundtable and AFL-CIO.

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