Pennsylvania Judiciary requests funding increase for underfunded courts
Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Judiciary, under the leadership of Chief Justice Ronald Castille, is asking the State Legislature for a 25% increase in funding this year. The state currently faces a $4.2 billion dollar deficit with the Judiciary facing a $47 million dollar deficit. 
Chief Justice Castille is currently the third highest paid of chief justices nationwide, making $195,138 annually. Payroll for the Judiciary has increased almost 20% since 2005, from $159 million to $190.4 million. Pay for Supreme Court Judges ranks 3rd in the nation at $189,620 and Common Pleas Judges rank 6th in the nation at $164,202. The Judiciary also receives other benefits from the state such as cost-of-living, merit increases and state paid vehicles. While the cost-of-living and merit increases have been halted or capped during the financial crisis there has been significant outcry by the public. 29% of all employees of the Judiciary are paid more than $100,000 annually. Most state court and appellate court judges also have home town offices despite the new $117 million dollar Pennsylvania Judicial Center which opened in 2009.
Judge Jeffrey A. Manning and President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Matthew Creme feel that Judiciary salaries are right where they should be. Both feel that in order to attract qualified judges the salary levels must be commensurate with the salaries that could be earned in the private sector.
Critics of the Judiciary's request for additional funding such as Gene Stilp, a leading opponent of the 2005 judicial pay raise, and Ed Collins, a retired Westinghouse marketing and communications specialist, argue that the judiciary is living too large while the average tax payer is forced to tighten their collective belts.
Governor Tom Corbett has previously suggested a 50 percent funding cut for state-related universities and cutting aid for school districts as a way to help solve the budget crisis. In a March budget address he has suggested that the Judiciary's budget remain at current levels, which is mirrored in the House Republican budget proposal.