Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom is in a political no-win situation when it comes to a proposal by his own reparations task force to pay up to $1.2 million in taxpayer money to every eligible Black resident as a way to atone for slavery and discrimination.
Newsom has yet to weigh in on the recommendations of the California Reparations Task Force, which was created by a state law he signed in 2020. While formal recommendations were approved by the task force at a public meeting in Oakland on Saturday, they are working on a plan for almost two years.
Newsom chose to remain silent on the issue even though he was about to be forced to choose a side. The task force’s final recommendations will be submitted to the California Legislature, which will decide whether to implement the measures and send them to Newsom’s desk to be signed into law.
“It was a fool’s errand from the beginning,” James Gallagher, California Assembly Republican Leader, told Fox News Digital. “Democrats promised the world with this reparations task force, and now the taxpayers’ bill is coming. Newsom has painted himself into a corner, and he has to choose between signing off on a ridiculous policies that will bankrupt the state or admit once and for all that this task force is nothing more than a political stunt.”
SAN FRAN’S REPARATIONS COMMITTEE PROPOSES $5 MILLION TO EACH BLACK LONG TIME RESIDENT, TOTAL DEBT FORGIVENESS
The task force’s recommendation breaks down payments by types of historical discrimination. For example, Black residents affected by the redlining of banks would receive $3,366 for each year they lived in California from the early 1930s to the late 1970s, amounting to $148,099.
Similarly, Black residents could receive about $2,352 in compensation for overpolicing and mass incarceration for each year they lived in California between 1970 and 2020. Those payments could amount to $115,260.
The task force recommended giving just under $360,000 per person to the roughly 1.8 million Black Californians who had an ancestor who was enslaved in the US, putting the total cost of the program at about $640 billion, exceeding the budget of state more than double.
In total, from these and other payments included in the plan, a Black Californian who is 71 years old and has lived in California his entire life could receive up to $1.2 million, according to an analysis from the New York Times.
It’s unclear how California will pay for the massive reparations. Newsom announced in January that the state faces a projected budget deficit of $22.5 billion for the coming fiscal year. A few weeks later, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, a government agency that analyzes the budget for the state legislature, estimated in a subsequent report that Newsom’s prediction overshot the mark by about $7 billion.
CALIFORNIA’S REPARATIONS PANEL APPROVED PAYMENTS OF UP TO $1.2 MILLION TO EACH BLACK RESIDENT
Advocates have called on Newsom to use his authority as governor to unilaterally enact the measure if the legislature does not. The governor risks angering a large constituency if he does not act, as polls show that a majority of Black Americans support reparations for slavery.
Critics argue that Newsom will use the lofty proposal to score political points because he views it as a nonstarter in the state legislature.
“Newsom wants national publicity on reparations like he received on gay marriage as Mayor of San Francisco,” John Dennis, Chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, told Fox News Digital. “He knows that reparations will eventually be withdrawn, in which case he can look like a hero but blame the lack of reparations on the Trump-appointee led Supreme Court.”
“Everybody knew that California did not have the financial means to pay reparations when this commission was created,” said Republican Assemblyman Bill Essayli. “Now the Governor has ripped open the painful generational wounds of slavery under false pretenses and false expectations. Why? For cheap political points.”
“Slavery was never legal in the state of California—something we can be proud of in this state,” he said. “When the Governor’s reparations commission recommends spending billions of taxpayer dollars on reparations, it sends the wrong message that some hard-working taxpayers owe others money for a crime they didn’t commit. concerned. Californians instead of encouraging division between groups.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
CalMatters asked recently all 80 assemblymembers if they supported the proposal of the task force, and only three said yes, while the others refused to respond.
The governor’s office did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment about his views on the measure or whether he would sign a bill enacting it.
Aaron Kliegman and Anders Hagstrom of Fox News contributed to this report.