Report: California reparations could cost as much as $1.2M per Black resident

The reparations plan could cost the state over $800 billion.

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Economists advising California’s reparations task force are recommending payments of up to $1.2 million for Black Californians, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. 

According to a preliminary draft of the task force’s final report, this is a rough estimate of what it would cost the state to compensate African American residents for California’s role in chattel slavery and other forms of white supremacy. The calculations do not represent a final recommendation on the full dollar amount for reparations. Nor does it include all harms such as property seized through eminent domain.

“Rather, it is an economically conservative initial assessment of what losses, at a minimum, the State of California caused or could have prevented, but did not,” the report states, according to the Chronicle.

The economists advising California’s task force on reparations have released a rough estimate of the dollar amount the state’s Black residents should receive as a result of discriminatory polices and practices. (Credit: AdobeStock)

The draft report outlines estimates for restitution in three key areas: Mass incarceration (in 2020 dollars, up to $115,260 per person), housing discrimination (up to $148,099 per person) and healthcare harms such as exposure to environmental pollution and racism at the hands of medical personnel (up to $966,921, based on a life expectancy of 71 years).

Members of the task force may vote on adopting the draft report on Saturday at Mills College in Oakland, the Chronicle reports. The task force has until July 1 to submit a report and cash payments recommendations to the Legislature. That body and Gov. Gavin Newsom will ultimately determine how to fund reparations if they are approved.

As NBC News reports, this draft proposal is not related to San Francisco’s reparations task force. 

California’s state budget is about $297 billion per year, the Chronicle reports. The reparations plan could cost over $800 billion.

There are other matters to settle as well, including who qualifies as it regards residency, ties to Black people enslaved in the United States and Black immigration before or after 1900.

In any case, the task force report recommends that the Legislature make a “substantial down payment on reparations” if they approved, prioritizing payments to older Americans, according to the Chronicle. 

In 2020, California lawmakers created the task force to examine the generational impact of slavery on African Americans in education, criminal justice and other inequities, theGrio previously reported.

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