Critics Target State Budget Process

Critics of the state budget process are starting to note last-minute deals that left lawmakers lacking information while negotiations went on in secret. Report the Los Angeles Times, “… in the final days of negotiations this year, lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown added $5 million to help Los Angeles host the Special Olympics next year and $3 million for research into the emerging field of precision medicine. But it’s not just relatively minor spending items that are included at the last minute; there are also complex policy proposals [for example] the administration introduced a plan to limit the amount of money school districts can keep in their reserves, just hours before it was vetted by the joint budget committee Wednesday.”
Meanwhile, commentary on what the new budget means for the court system remains scarce. But read the LAT report here: Closed-door, last-minute state budget decisions raise concerns

Courts Budget Too Little, Too Wait

Those long wait times and delayed justice are not likely to go away anytime soon, given this year’s state budget focus on Gov. Brown’s bullet train project and increased education funding, say the early reviews of the just-passed spending plan. Says The Courthouse News: “… [the] $156 billion budget California lawmakers passed Sunday gave a $40 million boost to courthouse construction, but fell far short of the $266 million the judiciary hoped to raise for the trial courts this year… Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye unveiled in January a “budget blueprint” for the courts that set a $1.2 billion funding goal over the next three years, with $266 million more needed this year just to stay afloat.
Also from TCN: “We are nowhere near adequate funding of the [justice] system and nowhere even their own treading water mark, and that’s unfortunate,” Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, said on Sunday. “This budget simply does not focus on the priorities that Californians have set.”
What’s less clear is what political price, if any, lawmakers will pay for putting the courts on the budget back-burner.
See the story here: Courthouse News Service