As the sub-prime mortgage crisis cuts property tax revenue and sales taxes lag due to an anemic economy, Stockton’s budget deficit has ballooned to about twenty-five million dollars. In an effort to balance the books the city council has implemented a hiring freeze, solicited voluntary buyouts and called for limited furloughs for employees to trim the payroll. Councilman Clem Lee, who chairs the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, says the government is attempting to spread out the controversial furloughs among all departments.
"It really is just a matter of trying to spread the cut as evenly and as far as possible. Everybody contributes a little bit to keeping everybody on board."
The local police officers association says furloughs should be implemented only as a last resort.
The city council is planning to meet with employee unions to discuss budget-cutting measures.