Court Funding Task Force
Funding Alternatives Work Group
State-Local Share Sub-Committee
Final recommendations have been presented and forwarded to the Task Force. The Task Force adopted the recommendations as presented with one addition*. The recommendation adopted was, as a principle, state assumption of 100% funding responsibility for the following:
- Superior Court Judge Salary
- Verbatim record of the proceedings
- Mandatory Arbitration
- District Court Judge Salary
- *Municipal Court Judge Salary for statutory municipal court judge positions
- Jury fees at all court levels
- Interpreter costs at all court levels
- Witness fee costs at all court levels
- Juvenile Dependency Indigent Party representation
- Juvenile Dependency Services
- Juvenile Dependency Guardians Ad Litem
- Criminal Indigent Defense at all court levels
Final recommendations have been presented and in-depth discussion has occurred. The following tax options are under consideration:
- A one percent increase on the B&O tax on legal services (raising the tax rate from 1.5% to 2.5%). Potential revenue is $30 million annually.
- A statewide voted rate based property tax of 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Potential revenue is $60 million annually.
- Adoption of one or more of the new tax options presented by the Gates Tax Structure Commission. Examples provided in the report included expansion of the watercraft excise tax to motor homes and travel trailers and extending the state sales tax to consumer services such as cable and television satellite services, beauty shops, amusement, and recreation activities. Of these options the sub-committee initially focused on cable and satellite TV services and determined the revenue potential was $28 million annually.
- An across-the-board percentage assessment on the B&O tax at a level dictated by the amount of desired revenue generation.
In addition to specific tax options, two other options are under consideration discussed:
- Shifting county revenue from fees, fines, and penalties that are subject to the PSEA division to the state. The estimated current amount of revenue retained by the Counties is $58 million. Shifting City “PSEA” revenue to cover costs currently borne by cities is also a possibility. The estimated current amount of revenue retained by the cities is $51 million.
- Freezing county (and/or city) expenditures for specific items targeted for funding by the state at current levels and shifting responsibility for future inflationary and growth costs to the state.
User Fees Sub-Committee
Final recommendations have been presented and will be voted upon at the April 22 Work Group Meeting. Expected recommendations are:
PSEA Account Sub-Committee
Final recommendations have been presented. Several recommendations were rejected. A recommendation that the legislature set the penalty schedule for traffic infractions (eliminating the legislative assessments) and that the PSEA/Local percentage distribution be adjusted on a “no-harm” basis has been tabled.