The House lawmaker in charge of the overseeing prisons and courts said the plan to charge offenders found guilty of a crime $25 won’t completely cover the shortfall facing state courts.
“We’re not going to collect enough to equal how much we’re down,” Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, the chairman of the House Judiciary, Rules, and Administration Committee told budget writers on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) Thursday. He said the fees for offenders could raise $5.1 million, but budget reductions to the courts total more than $6 million. “Everybody else is having some pain, so why not the courts also? … They can absorb that.” Clark said that a tiered system of fees, with people convicted of felonies charged up to $100 was considered but rejected. “I don’t think it’s doable,” he said. Clark said he will hold a committee hearing on the new fees next week, after JFAC sets the budget for the Idaho Judicial Branch on Feb. 23.