One in Four SJ Redevelopment Workers Laid Off

This was not a happy hump day at the San Jose Redevelopment Agency.  Today 24 staff members learned they are being laid off thanks to the state's budget trouble.  That is nearly 25 percent of the staff.

The agency said it had no choice because it was faced with a "monumental taking by the state of California of $88 million."

The layoffs follow a $2.5 billion cut in state funding for all redevelopment agencies in the state. Specifically, San Jose lost $62 million this year and will lose another $13 million next year.  That's in addition to a $13 million cut in 2008.

Projects are on hold and people are out on the street.

Somehow the cuts add up to an annual savings of $3,071,072.

The executive director called the layoffs heart-wrenching.

"The state has left us with few options. As we are forced to halt or scale back Agency-funded projects, we must begin
the process of significantly scaling back our budget and our capital program to pay the State. Much of our staffing is project-oriented, and with the significant reduction in projects, there were no other options,” Harry Mavrogenes said.

Mavrogenes said the cuts could not have come as a worse time because of the current downtun in the economy.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who is in Washington, D.C. this week, pointed his finger squarely at Sacramento.  He said lawmakers failed to solve the state's structural budget problems.

"Redevelopment provides critical tools to rebuild our economy, create jobs, and revitalize neighborhoods – exactly the kinds of investments we should be making in this recession. Sadly, we are forced to eliminate the jobs of many of the very people who have been working to help San Jose get back on track," Reed said in a written statement.

Reed said San Jose has closed an $84 million gap and was still able to focus on strategic investments that grow the economy.   He said in contrast, the legislature failed in its budget effort and instead choose "to raid local resources with dire consequences for communities, businesses, and families throughout our region."

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