Judges head to capitol for annual budget pleas
2:01 pm, January 16th, 2013
Along with the heads of state departments and agencies, judges will make their annual pilgrimage to the Georgia General Assembly next week, seeking money to at least maintain, and at best boost, their operations and staff.
The joint meeting of House and Senate Appropriations Committees is slated to begin Tuesday, Jan. 22, with a presentation by Governor Nathan Deal.
State judicial agencies are scheduled to present their requests on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Western Circuit (Athens) Juvenile Court Judge Robin Shearer will represent the Council of Juvenile Court Judges at 11 a.m. Chief Justice Carol Hunstein will represent the Supreme Court at 11:45 a.m.
Appropriations subcommittees are likely to hear from smaller state agencies, such as the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia and the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, at a later time.
State Bar of Georgia President Robin Frazer Clark said shortly before taking office this summer that the bar’s legislative agenda may include advocating for judicial pay raises, which have not happened since 1999 outside of cost-of-living increases. However, the bar has not been vocal on this topic for several months.
That may be because the Peach State is expected to face another year of tight purse strings. While the Governor’s Office reported last week that net revenue collections are up 4.9 percent compared to the same time last year, the current budget for fiscal year 2013 was based on projected revenue growth of 5.2 percent.
The Associated Press reported today that more cuts will be necessary to balance the budget because Republican leaders in the House have ruled out any significant tax increases. Also, the state’s Medicaid program is running a deficit of about $750 million.