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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

CA Courts on track to get increase in final budget

By Laura Ernde
Staff Writer

Courts received a significant budget increase in the final state spending plan inked last month, however court leaders say it’s not enough to prevent continued court closures.

While this marks the second straight year of increases for the branch, court officials are still struggling to recover from the previous five years of cuts.

State legislators had voted to give the courts an additional $280 million in operating funds, but the final budget signed in mid-June largely tracked the additional $160 million Gov. Jerry Brown called for in May. The exception was a one-time $40 million earmark for construction.

In a statement, California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye thanked the governor and the legislature for the gains that were made, in particular the commitment for additional operating increases next year.

“I am especially grateful to all those who advocated on behalf of branch reinvestment for the public,” she said.

But she cautioned that the ongoing shortfall will result in service reductions for the public, noting that her three-year blueprint for the courts called for a $1.2 billion reinvestment in the branch.

“And while I appreciate the work of the Governor and the Legislature in increasing branch funding, especially given the context of this budget, the state revenues, the demands and the needs – unfortunately it is not enough to provide timely, meaningful justice to the public,” she said.