Keep Iowa’s courts world class

Iowa has a court system that is the envy of many other states and a source of pride to Hawkeye State residents. Keeping our state’s courts world class should be a priority for lawmakers when budget decisions are made this year.

Iowa’s Supreme Court is led by a Fort Dodger. In his role as chief justice, Mark Cady presented recommendations to the Legislature Wednesday as part of his State of the Judiciary address. He made clear that budget cuts in past years have left the court system struggling to do its job in the first-rate fashion Iowans have come to expect.

“We have learned that potential efficiencies in our court system quickly fall out of reach without sufficient personnel,” Cady said.

With that in mind, he submitted a budget that would increase funding to $167.7 million. That’s up about $6 million from the current year.

The additional monies would permit staffing increases to permit the judicial system to fulfill its important functions more fully and efficiently. Cady said a careful evaluation of the court system’s ability to meet public expectations and requirements has led him to conclude that modest increases are consistent with frugal management goals. He emphasized that these added resources will help make possible achievement of a “vision of the court system reaching its greatest potential.”

The Messenger agrees with Justice Cady that appropriate funding for the state’s judicial system is crucially important. We urge members of the Legislature to give his proposals careful consideration.