Georgia’s top judges warned Gov. Sonny Perdue this week that forcing the state court system to absorb additional cuts this fiscal year could force courtrooms to close.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears and Judge Melvin K. Westmoreland, president of the Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia, told Perdue in separate letters that the budget reductions announced Thursday will have dire consequences and are — in their opinion — unconstitutional.
Perdue announced Thursday that state revenues had continued to decline and that every state agency would see a 25 percent cut in the state money they were to receive in June, the final month of the 2009 fiscal year. That amounts to about a 2 percent annual budget cut. A Perdue spokesman said Friday that the governor understands the judges’ frustrations, but that Perdue has the constitutional and statutory authority and responsibility to balance the state’s budget and that the cuts would continue as planned.