Goal VII - Adequate, Stable, and Predictable Funding for a Fully Functioning Branch

Consistent with the Judicial Council’s legislative priority to advocate for investment in our justice system to preserve access to justice for all Californians, the branch must make every effort to achieve greater financial independence and flexibility for funding the court system at a level of sufficiency.

Overview

California’s state court system, the largest in the nation, serves an increasingly diverse population of 38 million people. The judicial branch is accountable for ensuring that the courts remain accessible to all Californians, court procedures are fair and understandable to court users and the public, and court services are provided to earn the public’s trust and confidence in the statewide administration of justice. Accomplishing these fundamental responsibilities of government requires a reliable funding base that will sustain branch operations on a continual, uninterrupted basis.

The branch must pursue a comprehensive approach to financially adapt to a shifting state budget environment. This strategic goal represents a call for continued advocacy and a resolve to define new financial strategies.

• The branch must continue advocacy for sufficient fund balances allowing courts to manage cash flow challenges, a method for stable and reliable growth funding for courts to address annual cost increases in baseline operations, and sufficient additional resources to allow courts to (1) improve physical access to the courts by keeping courts open, (2) expand access by increasing the ability of court users to conduct branch business online, and (3) restore programs and services that were reduced or eliminated in recent years.

• Beyond a legislative program, the branch must also focus on comprehensive solutions for managing scarce resources to achieve a position of relative strength in uncertain economic times. This includes, but is not limited to: revenue-generation strategies, alternative funding mechanisms, business process reengineering to achieve further efficiencies, and program evaluation to support financial planning.

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