The California Reparations Task Force is set to recommend that the Golden State apologize and issue “down payments” to Black residents as a way to make amends for the harm caused by slavery and discrimination.
The task force, created by state legislation signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020, on Monday released more than 500 pages of documents containing their plans. The documents suggest that California should issue a formal apology and consider payments of various amounts to eligible Black Californians.
The documents also contain a variety of policy suggestions, including banning cash bail, something that has been blamed for increasing crime in areas that have adopted it.
In March, economists predicted that the proposed reparations plan could cost California more than $800 billion, though the task force's latest documents do not include an overall price tag. Rather, they outline ways that the state can calculate the amount of money that Black residents have lost since the state was established in 1850 due to discrimination.
The task force is also recommending that eligible Black Californians receive “down payments” while waiting for the full amount of money due to be calculated. The documents suggest dollar amounts that have been lost for specific types of racial discrimination, indicating that those amounts should be paid back to Black residents.
Beyond money, the task force is proposing several policy changes to combat racial discrimination. It is also suggesting that California issue a formal apology enacted by the legislature and signed by the governor for slavery and anti-Black racism.
The reparations program would be overseen by a new state agency that would determine eligibility for and distribute funds, according to the task force report.
Critics of the proposals argue that they are fiscally unmanageable for a state already facing a deficit of tens of billions of dollars and don't make sense to implement since California never allowed slavery.
Proponents of the plans point out that racial discrimination in the state has devastated the Black community, costing it untold amounts of money.
The task force is set to meet this weekend in Oakland to discuss and potentially vote on their latest recommendations. A final report with the panel's official recommendations is due by July 1 to the state legislature, which will then decide whether to implement the measures and send them to Newsom's desk to be signed into law.