Governor files FY14 budget recommendations

Issue March 2013 By Lee Ann Constantine

Gov. Deval L. Patrick filed his budget recommendations for fiscal year 2014 on Jan. 23. Patrick recommends funding the Trial Court at $577 million, which is less than the $589 million maintenance request by the court.

A supplemental budget, filed on the same day, contains a newly formed commission to  study court realignment and judicial salaries. The commission will be comprised of legislative, bar and court leadership and must report back within six months. The language establishing the commission specifically asks for a recommendation on 15 courts that could close in the next 10 years.

The supplemental budget proposal also included a section establishing a standing commission to study the criminal justice system.

The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation budget recommendation was $15.5 million, a $3.5 million increase over fiscal year 2013 funding. Patrick also recommends funding the Committee for Public Counsel Services at $189 million, $6.1 million below their maintenance request. The governor does not recommend any structural changes.

The House and Senate will take up their own versions of the budget in April and May respectively.