Jury Still Out On Court Funding Increases

It sure looks like the jury is still out for courts funding. The bad news from Gov. Brown’s latest budget draft raises a question: Is that the real number for increasing courts spending, namely “zero,” or just the latest negotiation move? Judging by reaction, it’s most likely the later as we move toward a June 15constitutional deadline for the “final” budget from lawmakers.
A math reminder: This year’s spending plan keep the $525 million judicial branch cut, and the lion’s share of that – about $475 million – will be hitting the trial courts. It’s harder to cut the criminal courts, largely because they have more constitutional protections but also because those issues have more political clout. The ongoing budget, to cite The Courthouse News, “… comes after days of preceding speculation that some money would be restored to the state judiciary that has been shuttering courthouses and laying off employees up and down the state.”
But Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is reacting as though the budget numbers could change. And Assembly Speaker John Perez, who if from Los Angeles and has strong union ties, is calling for protecting court funding – but it seems unclear exactly what that means. This is all a sure bet to heat up in coming weeks, and here’s an excellent recap from the Courthouse News Service.