Trial judges told the committee today that if the fees aren't
increased, about the only option would be to furlough court
employees. They said that would result in reduced access to the
courts by the public.
The Legislature needs to plug a projected $199 million hole in
the current budget with spending cuts including in the judicary.
Most of the judicial budget is for personnel and the courts already
have imposed hiring freezes and made other cutbacks.
In 2002, the Supreme Court temporarily raised fees to offset a
budget shortfall. In 2006 the Legislature enacted a law saying only
lawmakers can change filing fees.