San Jose hangs its rebound hopes on big tech incentives. Could it backfire?

Cities nationwide are grappling with a post-recession redefinition of how governments do business. San Jose’s unparalleled staffing and budget pressures in affluent Silicon Valley have pushed the city to gamble on big tech incentives.

As of this June, the city of San Jose had 569 vacant jobs.

It’s a high number — equivalent to about 10 percent of the city’s reduced workforce — but still a welcome change from the massive cuts that have defined the last few years.

One of San Jose’s current openings is for a director of human resources who will be faced with a daunting task: Hiring hundreds of people amid a business boom that has made Silicon Valley a cutthroat market for talent — and drastically increased demand for city services.

While the private sector churns out glossy new tech campuses, luxury apartment buildings and farm-to-table restaurants opening in Silicon Valley, local governments across the country are confronting fundamental questions about the sustainability of their own business models.

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