Statement from Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey and Trial Court Administrator Harry Spence on FY17 House Ways and Means Budget Recommendation
The FY17 House Ways and Means Budget recommendation proposes a Trial Court budget of $639,826,666, which consists of maintenance funding of $637,028,313 plus $2,798,353 for additional specialty court funding. The Trial Court submitted a maintenance budget request of $654,374,856, a difference of $17,346,543. The House Ways and Means Budget recommendation would require a reduction in force of approximately 300 Trial Court employees. In recent years, with the support of the Legislature, the Trial Court has made significant strides in modernizing and streamlining its operations. The reduction proposed in the House Ways and Means Budget would seriously impede the ongoing modernization of the judicial branch and reduce the Trial Court’s ability to effectively respond in a timely manner to society's need for justice. We in the judiciary believe that this is not the time to curtail the timely delivery of justice to the residents of the Commonwealth.
We are grateful to the House Ways and Means Committee for its support for further expansion of specialty courts in FY17. However, the effectiveness of specialty courts depends on the effective functioning of the underlying criminal justice system. The House Ways and Means Committee Budget recommendation does not adequately support the day-to-day operations of the criminal justice system. We look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure the continued delivery of justice with dignity and speed to the residents of the Commonwealth.