H.R. 8235 would require the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC), working in coordination with the General Services Administration, to develop and implement a modernized software system to manage the electronic records of the court. The legislation would require that public court records be accessible to the public, and would authorize the AOUSC to impose new fees—particularly on high-volume, for-profit users—to cover the costs of developing and maintaining the new system.
If enacted, CBO expects those fees would generate $47 million in additional revenue over the 2021-2030 period, mostly from high-volume users of the system. CBO believes that the new fees should be recorded in the budget as revenues, because they are new and an exercise of the government’s sovereign power over the federal judiciary. Those revenues would be offset by a decline in other revenues of approximately 22 percent to account for indirect tax effects. As a result, CBO estimates that the legislation would increase net revenues by $37 million over that period.
Under the bill, the additional revenue would be deposited in the Judiciary Information Technology Fund, and the AOUSC would be authorized to spend those fees without further appropriation. As a result, CBO estimates H.R. 8235 would increase direct spending by $46 million over the 2021-2030 period. CBO expects that most of those costs would be incurred during the 2021-2025 period as major work on software development is completed and the system is deployed across the federal judiciary.
On net, CBO estimates that enacting H.R 8235 would increase the deficit by $9 million over the 2021-2030 period.
If enacted, H.R. 8235 also would affect spending subject to appropriation by the AOUSC; CBO has not completed an estimate of that effect.