Governor Brown’s proposed budget makes excessive additional cuts to court funding. Budget cuts of the past two years slashed it by over half. Local trial courts have taken a disproportionate share of the cuts and now amount to less than 1% of the state General Fund (Governor’s Budget Summary 2013-14, Schedule 9, Appendix pages 19-21). Balancing the budget at the expense of the local trial courts is not the answer. These courts are where the “access” is in “access to justice,” and they are what separates the public from a creeping Kafkaesque reality. Funding needs to be restored.
Donna Lewis is president of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association