California Gov. Newsom appears to backtrack on prior support for cash reparations for slavery and racism

 May 11, 2023

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has reportedly now backtracked on his prior expressed support for the idea of cash reparations for slavery to black residents of the Golden State, Breitbart reported.

The apparent walkback followed the release of a preliminary report from a special reparations task force the governor authorized in 2020 which made a number of different recommendations for state reparative actions that included cash payments of up to $1.2 million per eligible resident -- an expensive proposition the state would be incapable of affording.

Reparations are "about much more than cash payments"

Fox News reported that Gov. Newsom appeared to signal his support for some of the reparations recommendations put forward by the task force but stopped short of endorsing the proposed cash payments and said that addressing issues like slavery and racial discrimination "is about much more than cash payments."

"The Reparations Task Force’s independent findings and recommendations are a milestone in our bipartisan effort to advance justice and promote healing," Newsom said in a statement to the outlet. "This has been an important process, and we should continue to work as a nation to reconcile our original sin of slavery and understand how that history has shaped our country."

"Dealing with that legacy is about much more than cash payments," he continued. "Many of the recommendations put forward by the Task Force are critical action items we’ve already been hard at work addressing: breaking down barriers to vote, bolstering resources to address hate, enacting sweeping law enforcement and justice reforms to build trust and safety, strengthening economic mobility -- all while investing billions to root out disparities and improve equity in housing, education, healthcare, and well beyond. This work must continue."

Newsom added, "Following the Task Force’s submission of its final report this summer, I look forward to a continued partnership with the Legislature to advance systemic changes that ensure an inclusive and equitable future for all Californians."

Proposed payments for different categories of racial discrimination

Cal Matters reported last week that the task force had released a 500-page set of documents with proposals that included a formal apology from the state for racism and slavery -- even though California was never a slave state -- and cash "down payments" to certain eligible recipients along with a host of government policy recommendations.

For what it is worth, the task force itself had rejected an initial proposal that would have granted reparations to all black residents of the state, including recently arrived immigrants, and instead chose to limit eligibility to those who could prove they were descendants of actual slaves or had been otherwise harmed by prior discriminatory government policies and practices.

As far as the cash payments go, a sort of sliding scale of reparation amounts were devised for different categories of racial discrimination with set monthly or annual payments and a maximum cap, such as a proposed $2,352 per year lived in California between 1971 and 2020, with a cap of $115,260, for "mass incarceration" and "over-policing" in black communities.

For supposed discrimination and injustice in health care, eligible residents could receive $13,619 for each year lived in California, up to a maximum of $966,921, which equals the average livespan of 71 for black residents in the state.

With regard to housing discrimination and so-called "redlining" in lending and zoning, the task force set a rate of $3,366 for each year lived in the state between 1933 and 1977, with a cap of $148,099 per recipient, but also offered an alternative of $145,847 per person to help close the "housing wealth gap" between black and white homeowners.

Maximum payouts could cost taxpayers more than $2 trillion

Yahoo News reported Tuesday that the task force has sent its report to the state legislature for consideration, and is scheduled to make a special presentation there in June, but its future even in the Democrat-controlled legislature is uncertain as critics have highlighted how incredibly unaffordable the proposed cash payments for reparations are.

It has been estimated that certain recipients who are deemed eligible for maximum payouts in all of the categories could receive up to $1.2 million from state taxpayers, and with potentially as many as 2 million eligible residents in the state, that would work out to more than $2.4 trillion in a state with an annual budget of around just $300 billion.

Obviously, not every black resident would be eligible for any payments, and most of those who are would not receive the $1.2 million maximum, but costs would still be an astronomical burden on state taxpayers, especially when considering the added costs of the numerous other recommended policies and programs put forward by the task force -- meaning all of this is likely just partisan pandering talk that will never actually become reality.

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