California reparations task force meets to hear public input on reparations at the california science center in los angeles on sept 22 2022 2
Photo Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Reparations for Black Californians Could Cost $800 Billion

Reparations for Black residents of California could cost the state $800 billion, says California's reparations task force.

Reparations could cost California a hefty price to the tune of $800 billion. The amount was determined on Wednesday (March 29), after the state's reparations task force conferred with five economists and policy experts, per AP News. The amount, which is 2.5 times California’s $300 billion annual budget, would compensate Black residents for "over-policing, disproportionate incarceration and housing discrimination."

The preliminary estimate does not include a recommended $1 million per older Black resident for health issues that have shortened their average life span. The figure also doesn't consider government-obtained property or undervalued Black businesses, which the task force claims California has perpetuated. Despite the numbers, Black residents may not receive cash payments in the near future.

“We’ve got to go in with an open mind and come up with some creative ways to deal with this,” said Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, one of two lawmakers on the task force. The group will assemble on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the cost.

“That’s going to be the real hurdle,” said Senator Steven Bradford, also a member of the panel. “How do you compensate for hundreds of years of harm, even 150 years post-slavery?”

Facing a July 1 deadline for estimating the dollar amount and how much Black California residents should receive, the task force has to convince Gov. Gavin Newsom. The panel's amount comes one month after a similar panel arrived at $5 million to the city's Black residents, also citing debt forgiveness.