Brooklyn legal community hails new state court system budget
The legal community in Brooklyn and throughout New York state yesterday hailed the newly released New York State Unified Court System Budget for 2013-14.
The General State Charges Major Purpose All Funds budget requirement is $660.7 million, or an increase of $93 million (16.4 percent) over the current year’s adjusted appropriation.
Hon. Barry Kamins, acting administrative judge for civil matters, 2nd Judicial District, said, “Judge [Gail] Prudenti had to balance the needs of the judicial and non-judicial staff with our responsibility as a partner in government. That is why we will have to do more with less in the coming year.”
Seymour W. James, Jr., president of the New York State Bar Association and a Brooklyn resident, said, “The Judiciary has proposed a budget, in these difficult financial times, that while essentially flat, recognizes its foremost mission is to protect access to justice for all New Yorkers.
“The court system is prepared to absorb added costs in a proposed operating budget that is slightly smaller than its current budget. To control spending, it is continuing to streamline its operations and adopt new technologies, such as the expansion of e-filing. We are pleased that Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has included an additional $15 million to provide civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers, who are particularly affected by these difficult economic times.”
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, a Brooklyn Democrat who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said, “The budget presented is one that recognizes the fiscal situation the state is in. It shows a lot of fiscal restraint.”
Carey Dunne, president of the NYC Bar Association, said, “The City Bar applauds Chief Judge [Jonathan] Lippman and Chief Administrative Judge Prudenti for increasing civil legal services funding by $15 million in the 2013-14 Judiciary Budget released today. The 60 percent increase from $25 to $40 million will provide vitally needed services to the victims of Hurricane Sandy and the millions of other New Yorkers who cannot afford legal services to address their basic human needs.”
Milton Williams, chair of the Fund and Committee for Modern Courts, said, “Modern Courts applauds Chief Judge Lippman, Chief Administration Judge Prudenti and the Office of Court Administration for providing a budget which recognizes the difficult economic times we face, the long-lasting effects of Hurricane Sandy, yet still ensures a robust judiciary in New York while offering funding for the most vulnerable.”
Required amounts for payment of fringe benefits to both judges and non-judicial employees include funding for the continuation of all collectively bargained benefit provisions:
Nonpersonal services: $265.8 million. This amount reflects an amortized estimate of $265.8 million for the New York State Employees’ Retirement System, which also includes amortized obligations from prior years.
Social Security and Medicare: $100.7 million. The amount reflects a statutorily-mandated employer contribution rate of 7.65 percent applied to earnings up to $113,700 and 1.45 percent on earnings exceeding $113,700. This also represents a decrease of $6.5 million from the current year reflecting attrition savings and expenditure-based reductions.
Health, Dental, Vision and Life insurance: $270.2 million. This amount required reflects an increase of $23.2 million over the 2012-13 adjusted appropriation. This amount reflects increases in health insurance costs as projected by the NYS Department of Civil Service, offset by an anticipated credit provided by the federal government for employers who provide retiree prescription drug coverage.
Employee Benefit Funds: $24 million. This amount includes contractual obligations to employee benefit funds for eligible employees and retirees.
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