Governor, Can You Spare a Dime?

(Library of Congress 1915)

The financial situation for California’s courts continues to go downhill.  Over the past four fiscal years, the judicial branch has seen a cumulative reduction of 23 percent in funding, roughly $653 million.  That’s down from what had been a $3 billion annual budget.  Now more cuts are expected when the governor issues his revised budget next week.

The Judicial Council, headed by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, has called a special business meeting for May 17 in Sacramento to review the latest bad news and consider options.  A live audiocast will be on the California Courts website.

The courts’ administration didn’t do themselves any favors in recent months with the shelving of a half-billion-dollar computer technology program that has failed to link the courts statewide as promised a decade ago.

The Legislature was decidedly unhappy and the council ultimately killed any further development of the program.

Cantil-Sakauye also expects a report next month from a 14-member committee she formed last year to take a top-to-bottom look at the courts’ central operations, the Administrative Office of the Courts.

It is pretty clear there is only one way for that report to go – more cuts at the administrative level and downsizing of administration.

Around the state, county courts have shortened hours and reduced staffing.

Stay tuned.

(Photo: Library of Congress, Hoboken, NJ 1915)

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