A preliminary estimate of the costs would exceed California’s $300 billion annual budget. It doesn’t include the $1 million recommended for health disparities that have shortened the average lifespan of older Black residents.
Furthermore, the task force contends that the state perpetuated two other harms, including taking property unjustly or devaluing Black businesses.
Due to the possibility that the state may never follow the economists’ calculations, black residents may not get cash reparations anytime soon, if at all.
On Wednesday, the reparations task force will review the statistics and vote on whether to accept the recommendations or develop its own estimates.
“We’ve got to go in with an open mind and come up with some creative ways to deal with this,” said AssemblymemberReggie Jones-Sawyer.
Jones-Sawyer will consult with budget analysts, other legislators, and the governor’s office before deciding the scale of payments.
The figures for police, disproportionate incarceration, and housing discrimination are hardly brand-new. At a presentation in September, the numbers were brought up as the consulting team sought advice on whether to employ a national or California-specific approach to assess damages.
As the task force nears a July 1 deadline, it must settle on a cash amount to recommend to lawmakers how California can atone for its role in perpetuating racist systems against Blacks.
According to economists, the staggering $800 billion reflects the damage Black Americans have endured even in a state that never officially endorsed slavery.
Opponents argue that current taxpayers shouldn’t be held liable for damage caused by incidents that began hundreds of years ago and partly base their criticism on the fact that California was never a slave state.
The task force’s recommendations are simply a starting point since ultimate authority rests with the state Assembly, Senate, and governor.
“That’s going to be the real hurdle,” said Sen. Steven Bradford, who sits on the panel. “How do you compensate for hundreds of years of harm, even 150 years post-slavery?”
Based on modeling and projected population sizes, the figures are approximations. To make up for the unfair practice of redlining in housing loans, the economists additionally included $569 billion. Each eligible citizen who resided in California between 1933 and 1977 would get approximately $223,000 in compensation.
The total is regarded as a maximum and is predicated on the eligibility of all 2.5 million Californians who identify as Black.
Those who satisfy the residency and other requirements will be eligible for monetary reparation. Also, they must be descended from Black individuals who were both enslaved and free in the United States as of the 19th century, which excludes Black immigrants.
The consultants advise the state task force to “err on the side of generosity” and consider making a down payment with the promise of additional funding as more evidence becomes available in their report.
“It should be communicated to the public that the substantial initial down payment is the beginning of a conversation about historical injustices, not the end of it,” they said.