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No Additional Money for California Courts

May 16, 2013

Judicial branch leaders were left disappointed on Tuesday, after Governor Jerry Brown announced that no additional money would be given to California courts. According to his 2013-14 budget, the surplus of tax revenues (estimated to be $4.5 billion) from the current fiscal year will be allotted elsewhere, such as public schools.

“The [Assembly] speaker has spoken about giving [the courts] more money, and I’m sure there will be a lot of give and take as we go through the process,” Brown said. “All these institutions — courts, universities, hospitals — have huge costs and everybody has to get used to managing them because we’ve been used to this overcommitment at the federal level, at the state level. And we’re trying now to have honest budgeting and careful budgeting and so that’s why we’ve held [the courts] level.”

In hopes of gleaning favor from the Governor, judicial branch leaders had enacted a budgeting system that equalizes money available to courts across the state, by shifting money from courts with more money to those that are substantially underfunded. The Administrative Office of the Courts announced that 77 courtrooms that have closed due to the budget cuts, and are trying to prevent that number from growing.

“I’m disappointed that the governor’s revised budget proposals provide no more fiscal relief to the courts,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in a prepared statement. “Given the state’s current fiscal condition, I had hoped for more effort to help stop the downward spiral of the judicial branch budget.”

The issue of court funding will continue, and hopefully come to a beneficial resolution before more courts close their doors.

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