The Judiciary isn’t playing ball with Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to reduce the state budget, as I point out in the New York Post today. A person who has reviewed the budget proposal by the Office for Court Administration (OCA) emails this follow-up:
[F]urther to your comments on the Judiciary budget, take a look at the proposal buried therein for $25 million in NEW funding for “civil legal services”, which is scheduled to increase to $100 million over four years …
If approved this year, this OCA funding will become yet another “permanent” feature of future budgets outside the control of the Gov or the Legislature. In other words, taxpayers will be funding “community organizers” through legal services funding in perpetuity.
Indeed, excluding pension costs, the big bump in civil legal services appears to be the biggest single net increase in the court system’s proposed spending for fiscal 2011-12.
When Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced his support for a major expansion of legal services funding last year, news media coverage portrayed the initiative as entirely altruistic in both its goals and its motivations. Of course, more taxpayer-subsidized litigation inevitably will also send more money to non-profit advocacy groups that depend on government grants — and these groups in turn can be counted on to form a lobbying bulwark against any effort to reduce future funding. It also will mean a bigger caseload for the courts, which can be used to justify more staffing and higher budgets in the future.
Who says there’s no such thing as a perpetual motion machine?
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