David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
Date: November 19, 1998
|Judiciary Budget Request for 1999-2000 Seeks Salary Increase for Judges|
|NEW YORK--Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye announced that the
Court of Appeals has approved and she has certified the Judiciary's 1999-2000 budget request, which includes a salary increase for all State-paid Judges. The budget will be transmitted by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman to the Governor and the Legislative Leaders on Monday, November 23.
The proposed salary adjustment would raise the salary of a State Supreme Court Justice to $136,700. The salaries of the other State Judges would be increased proportionally.
Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye stated, "Judges should be fairly and adequately
compensated for the important work they perform. Over many years, the judges
of this State have experienced a significant decline in the real value
of their salaries. Judicial salaries-which have not kept pace with the
cost of living-should not be permitted to serve as a deterrent to New York's
long tradition of judicial excellence. The last salary increase for New
York State judges was enacted in 1993. It is again time for the Legislature
to act." Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman added, "The proposed
salary adjustment is long overdue. The simple fact is that the value of
judicial salaries has steadily declined-whether measured against the rate
of inflation over the years, the income levels of attorneys in the State,
or the salary growth of other State employees."
The Commission found that the salaries of New York State Judges have lagged significantly in comparison to inflation indices. The Commission also found that salaries of State judges have fallen significantly behind those of Federal District Court judges, after many years in which State judicial salaries were above or equal to Federal judicial salaries.
The Commission's study revealed that State judicial salaries have fallen
behind those of a significant portion of the practicing bar, and, finally,
that State employees in all branches of government had experienced salary
growth at a rate far surpassing the growth of judicial salaries. All of
these factors led the Commission to conclude that judicial salaries should
be increased to levels that are fair and appropriate, with the benchmark
salary of a Supreme Court Justice recommended at $135,000. The benchmark
level of $136,700 included in the Judiciary budget extends the Commission's
findings, which were completed early in 1998, to the end of the year with
regard to the cost of living and other relevant factors. The effect of
the salary increase for full-time judges, who are not permitted to practice
law, would be an adjustment of approximately 2.7 percent per year from
enactment of the last judicial raise in 1993.
The Judiciary's budget request was approved by the Court of Appeals
and certified by Chief Judge Kaye following a presentation by Chief Administrative
Judge Lippman to the Court of an itemized estimate of the Judiciary's budgetary
needs for the next fiscal year. The budget will be available on Monday,
after transmittal to the Governor and the Legislative Leaders.