SAN JOSE, CA - San Jose firefighters facing layoffs and demands for pay cuts attribute the City's $116 million budget deficit to spending on "unnecessary" items such as new hybrid cars, according to the Mercury News.

Asked to cut 7.5 percent of its 2010-11 operating budget, firefighters scrutinized expenses by the city. 

Firefighters pointed to city contracts totaling more than $850,000 for Toyota Prius hybrid cars, which Deputy City Manager Ed Shikada said were bought under the city's vehicle replacement schedule, Mercury News reported. The schedule is aimed at unloading fleet cars before maintenance costs exceed the price of replacements. He said the city chose Prius models to lower fuel costs.

Other large expenses noted by firefighters was $364,900 in leadership training and consulting contracts and a $245,000 contract for "civic engagement services," reported Mercury News.