On July 19, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a state budget that would minimize cuts to the commonwealth’s court system for the 2003 fiscal year.
As passed, the court-related funding would avoid a projected 1,000 layoffs and a major curtailment of court services by requiring a cut of only 2.5 percent or approximately $15 million from the courts’ budget request.
At press time for Lawyers Journal, the budget was on the desk of acting Gov. Jane Swift. She was expected to veto an additional $330 million to bring the spending plan into balance.
In light of the devastating cutbacks sustained by the courts during Fiscal Year 2002, MBA President Carol A.G. DiMento called on Gov. Swift on July 19 to support the legislature’s recommendation and refrain from any further reductions in court funding.
“We recognize the difficult choices Gov. Swift will face in making her final decision on the budget,” said DiMento. “We trust she will be mindful that without adequate funding for the courts, those citizens who now can least afford access to the judicial process will be left without representation or recourse.”