The 2012-13 Budget: Managing Ongoing Reductions to the Judicial Branch
April 13, 2012
Over the last four years, the judicial branch has experienced various one–time and ongoing budget reductions as the state has faced large budget shortfalls. The Governor's 2012–13 budget continues the ongoing reduction to the branch, provides the Judicial Council with full authority to implement the reduction among branch entities, and proposes increasing civil fees to generate $50 million in new revenues to help the branch address their reduction. To the extent the Legislature approves the Governor's proposal, ongoing solutions should be identified and implemented in 2012–13, particularly since recent transfers and loans from branch special funds have greatly reduced the fund balances available as a potential budget solution. Specifically, we recommend the Legislature reject the Governor's proposed budget bill language authorizing the Judicial Council to allocate the reductions, adopt specific actions to achieve ongoing savings in the judicial branch, and require that the judicial branch submit a report on potential operational efficiencies.