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Foreclosures at the center of courts budget deficits

By James Call

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-994215.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – A Senate panel's staff report on foreclosure proceedings does not make any recommendations on how to reduce a backlog of cases in state courts. James Call tells us Florida is fourth in the nation for foreclosure activity according to a RealtyTrac report.

Florida courts have a caseload of about 350,000 homes in foreclosure with experts saying more will come. Many banks have declared a moratorium on foreclosures and that has reduced the stream of money into a trust fund that pays the court's bills. Altamonte Springs Senator David Simmons says he has a common sense solution. Give the courts the money it needs to hire retired judges to hear cases.

"And when we do allocate the resources and move the cases through we will actually see everything unclog and I really believe what will happen is that the filing fees and the revenues from foreclosure actions will in fact increase."

The backlog and moratorium opened a hole in the court's budget. Last month Governor Rick Scott approved a $45 million loan to the courts to cover expenses until March.