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Cuts Could Jeopardize Public Safety

Public safety will be jeopardized if lawmakers make any more cuts to the court system as they grapple with the state´s massive budget deficit, California Chief Justice Ronald George tells legislators today.

Governor Schwarzenegger proposes to trim $38 million from the judicial branch´s budget, and to drop another $100 million by not funding some other costs.

But the administration is working to help the courts overcome an additional projected $31 million shortfall because increases in filing fees were adopted so late due to a budget stalemate last year.

George´s plea comes amid disclosures that some counties are providing judges with benefits like car allowances, education stipends and extra medical insurance.