Reparation for racism to California residents could cost the state $ 800,000 million

Reparation For Racism To California Residents Could Cost The State $ 800,000 Million

SAN FRANCISCO – Compensating California’s black residents for generations of overzealous police, disproportionate incarceration and housing discrimination could cost the state more than $800 billion, economists have told a state committee studying offering reparations.

The initial estimate is more than 2.5 times California’s $300 billion annual budget and does not include the $1 million per elderly black resident for health inequality that has shortened their average life expectancy. It also doesn’t include compensation for property wrongfully taken by the government or devaluation of black businesses, two other wrongs the state perpetuated, according to the committee.

Black Californians could be slow to receive cash payments, if ever, because the state may never accept the economists’ calculations. The committee is scheduled to address the numbers on Wednesday and could vote to adopt the suggestions or offer its own numbers. The proposed figure comes from a consulting team of five political and economic experts.


“We have to go with an open mind and find creative ways to address this,” Reggie Jones-Sawyer, one of two state lawmakers on the committee responsible for finding support in the House and with Gov. Gavin Newsom, said before for any compensation to come true.

In an interview before the meeting, Jones-Sawyer said she needed to consult budget analysis, other lawmakers and the governor’s office before deciding whether such a pay scale was feasible.

Estimates about police work, disproportionate incarceration, and housing discrimination are not new. The figures were released in September when the consulting team sought advice on whether to use a national model or one specific to California to calculate damages.

Now the committee must agree on a sum by a July 1 deadline to recommend to lawmakers how California can repay its role in perpetuating racist systems that continue to undermine Black lives.

For reparations supporters, the staggering $800 billion figure suggested by economists underscores the lasting damage suffered by African Americans, even in a state that never officially endorsed slavery. Critics base their opposition in part on the fact that California was never a slave state and argue that today’s taxpayers should not be held responsible for damages originating centuries ago.

The committee’s recommendations are only the beginning, because ultimately the authority rests with the Assembly, the Senate, and the state governor.

“That’s going to be the real hurdle,” said Sen. Steven Bradford, who is on the committee. “How do you make up for hundreds of years of damage, even 150 years after slavery?”

Financial compensation is only one piece of the package being considered. Other proposals include paying incarcerated inmates the market value of their labor, establishing free wellness centers and planting more trees in black communities, banning financial bail and adopting a school curriculum that includes studies of black history.



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