San Jose Facing Sharp Jump in Health Care Costs
The cost of health care benefits and salaries for San Jose city workers has increased by 45% since 2000, nearly double the national average for local government employees and private sector workers, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Total personnel costs for employee salary and benefits rose 42% during the same period, according to the Mercury News. Furthermore, the costs of retirement and health care benefits rose three times the rate of salaries during that period.
The Mercury News notes that the city until recently has not kept a continuous report of how benefits and other costs have risen for public workers.
The City Council currently faces a $16 million budget deficit and has projected deficits for at least the next four years. Personnel costs account for two-thirds of the operating budget, according to the Mercury News.
Alex Gurza, director of employee relations, said, "The significant increase in pension costs and health care costs are not only not unique to San Jose but common to both the public and private sector" (Woolfolk, San Jose Mercury News, 3/7).