The state’s judicial branch apparently learned its lesson from two years ago: Don’t come in over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget request.
After being scolded by Cuomo in his first budget address in 2011 for seeking a boost in spending, the state’s courts system has been more fiscally austere last year and again this year.
The judiciary has requested a $1.75 billion budget, a reduction of $212,013 from the current fiscal year. It represents a .012% decrease.
“This negative budget request is being presented in the face of a number of cost increases, including the second phase of the judicial salary increase, and contractually-required increments for eligible non- judicial employees,” the budget request states.
Cuomo asked agencies in September to keep their budgets flat. While the judiciary is a separate branch of government, its budget does need approval by the Legislature and the governor. Cuomo will release his budget proposal on Jan. 22.
“This budget request is austere, as is required by the state’s fiscal outlook, and will require that the court system continue to reduce costs and to seek ways to make the court system work better and smarter,” the courts’ budget proposal states. “The vast majority of the Judiciary budget supports personnel, so controlling these costs is critical.”
The courts said it has reduced more than 1,500 positions, about 10 percent of its workforce, in recent years, despite an increase in workload.
Judges got their first raise since 1999 this year, part of a 27 percent pay increase over the next three years. Some judges wanted more.