Patrick’s FY11 budget would cut courts $10 million, level fund MLAC, CPCS

Issue February 2010

Gov. Deval Patrick released his budget recommendations for fiscal 2011, including a budget cut of approximately $10 million for the courts, which is to be spread throughout the system.

The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corp. was level funded at $9.5 million.

The recommendation for the Committee on Public Counsel Services was level funding; however, language in the budget is of concern to practitioners. The budget grants transferability between CPCS accounts with negative impact on private bar advocate funding by encouraging CPCS to hire additional full-time public defenders.

The filing of the governor's budget marks the beginning of the process. The House will release and debate its own budget in April, followed by the Senate in May. After each branch enacts their budgets, a conference committee is then appointed to work out the differences between the two bills. The conference committee report will then go to the House and Senate for votes before landing on the governor's desk for his signature.