Sen. Jones: cut extra judges to save millions of tax dollars

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LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, announced a plan Friday to cut extra judges saving Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars every year.

The State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) is the administrative agency of the Michigan Supreme Court. Each year the administrative office recommends removing or adding judicial positions based on caseloads. The typical trial court judge cost about $460,000. On average, $160,000 of that amount is state costs and $300,000 in local government cost.

“I believe that at times in Michigan history, some judge positions were created for political reasons,” Jones said. “In other instances caseloads have dropped because of population shifts. The taxpayers cannot continue to pay for unneeded judge positions.”

Jones has introduced Senate Bill 319 to start the process. This measure would cut judicial positions where vacancies have occurred in the Court of Appeals, the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County, the 26th District Court for Ecorse/River Rouge, and the 85th District Court for Benzie and Manistee counties.

According to Jones, the SCAO will recommend all the final cuts in August.

“It’s possible that we could have as many as 34 positions that need to be cut,” Jones said. “That could save taxpayers more than $15 million.”

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