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California Reparations Panel Estimates $569 Billion is Owed to Black Residents – California Globe

California Reparations Panel Estimates 9 Billion is Owed to Black Residents – California Globe
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The California Reparations Task Force gave their first estimation on possible reparations for African-Americans in California on Thursday, coming to an estimated figure of $569 billion of reparations based on past housing discrimination practices in California.

The Task Force was first put together in late 2020 following Gov. Gavin Newsom signing  AB 3121 to establish it. They are currently looking for what possible reparations, monetary or otherwise, to recommend to give to African-Americans living in California for past discriminatory practices and slavery, despite the latter not occurring in California following statehood in 1850. While initially encompassing all people of African descent, the group of those qualified to receive reparations was significantly narrowed in March when the task force voted to limit the possible reparations only to those who are an African American descendant of an enslaved person or free Black person living in the US prior to the end of the 19th century.

In June the Task Force’s first report came out, giving a recommendation of reparations, likely in the form of home buying assistance, free college tuition, and business grants. However, one of the many criticisms against the report was that not estimated monetary figure was attached, with many worried about how high it could be. On Thursday, first estimates on possible reparations were released.

According to the Task Force, qualified black residents, who make up slightly less than 7% of the state’s population, would be eligible to receive $223,200 each, or roughly $569 billion in total. The figure comes from the “housing wealth gap,” or discrimination policies in place between 1933 and 1977 that cost black residents an estimate $5,074 per year. If the figures stay the same in the final report and are approved, the reparations given out would be the most the country has seen since the 1860’s.

“We are looking at reparations on a scale that is the largest since Reconstruction,” noted UC Berkeley Professor and Task Force member Jovan Scott Lewis on Thursday.

$569 billion in possible reparations

Despite the release of an estimated figure on Thursday, reparations are still far from a done deal and remain unlikely to pass in California. The Task Force is due to release the final report, complete with final recommended figures, in June 2023. This would also include how payments would be given out, with housing grants, college tuition, and direct cash payments, amongst other types, being considered. Following that, the California Legislature would then decide on what, if anything, they could do.

Such action would likely come in the form of a bill, which would need approval from both houses and the Governor.. Even if it makes it past those, the bill would then likely have to contend with lawsuits and ballot measures that could weaken, or outright dismiss, any reparations at all.

“This Task Force is playing with fire and they know it,”  explained legal adviser Richard Weaver to the Globe on Thursday. “I mean, $569 billion. Somehow, if that is passed through and the Governor signs it, there will be dozens of lawsuits filed before the ink is even dry. There will be groups ready to go with petitions. I can tell you right now, as the Task Force has been gathering evidence for reparations, many groups out there have been gathering evidence against it either totally, or just against any direct cash payments.”

“We’ve been wanting possible estimates on this for awhile, but no one really expected the Task Force to have the gall to say this amount. Both sides, for and against, were just kind of stunned with the estimated amount. It’s that ridiculous.”

The Task Force is due to give their final reparations recommendations by June of 2023, with the Task Force then dissolving in December 2023. A bill hoping to extend the Task Force into 2024 was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this year.



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