San Jose Can Avoid Cuts by Borrowing From Portfolio: Council Members

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Virtually every city in the Bay Area is already warning about the pandemic-sized hole they now have in their budget, but for the second time in three days, San Jose city leaders are adamant there is no need for layoffs or budget cuts.

Three council members have penned a memo claiming the city can borrow from its lucrative investment portfolio. The latest report by the city's director of finance shows San Jose's portfolio is worth more than $2.2 billion.

"We've been saving for a rainy day and investing," said San Jose Councilwoman Maya Esparza, who is joining two other colleagues in drafting a memo.

The memo will suggest borrowing from the billions of dollars in the city's portfolio to avoid layoffs and cutbacks. It's a process similar to when people borrow off of their 401k accounts.

"Interfund borrowing is when the city -- we're able to borrow money from ourselves, with interest and pay pay it back, specifically for this kind of emergency," Esparza said.

The current proposed city budget calls for several cuts, including to the police and fire departments.

"We thought it was very simple, very straightforward," said Sean Pritchard, San Jose Police Officers Association vice president. "Why wouldn't you invest back in the city in such a critical time right now?"

San Jose provided the following statement on Monday:

"The city administration is still evaluating the memo, and plans to issue a supplemental memo."

The memo goes before the full city council on Tuesday.

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