California Democrats Propose $12 Million for Reparations Plan in Latest Budget Proposal

The money would fund a year of reparations programs advancing in the legislature

Gavin Newsom (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

California governor Gavin Newsom (D.) and Democratic leaders earmarked $12 million in taxpayer funds over the next budget year to launch race reparations for black residents, according to their latest budget agreement.

The cash would support proposed programs that are still moving through the legislature but are expected to pass given their support from the Democratic supermajority. These bills include subsidized property taxes for eligible black residents and a mandatory preference for black applicants who apply to state licensing bodies for work permits. Legislators also want to create a permanent state bureaucracy called the California American Freedman Affairs Agency to dole out all future reparations.

This proposal comes as polling shows Californians oppose cash reparations, while state leaders work to keep the promise of reparations alive through a slate of proposals and programs. The earmark is part of state leaders’ latest spending compromise for the next fiscal year as they try to close a $47 billion budget hole.

The budget proposal drew accolades from the black legislators behind the state’s various reparations proposals. Assemblywoman Lori Wilson (D.) told the Sacramento Bee it shows that “our leadership and the governor recognize the obligation to those impacted by slavery.”

Meanwhile, the legislature is weighing a package of 15 bills all tied to the promise of reparations. Legal experts have questioned the legality of the two most contentious proposals—subsidizing thousands of dollars in property taxes and fast-tracking professional licenses for black Californians—as potentially violating constitutional guarantees of equal treatment of citizens regardless of race and last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ban on affirmative action.

Other measures include a proposed constitutional amendment to ban prison labor in the state and a bill to siphon off a percentage of budget reserves in perpetuity to fund any future reparations plans.

The Democrats’ spending plan which contains the $12 million for reparations totals nearly $298 billion, which is still nearly double what it was 10 years ago.

Newsom and Democratic legislators first teased black race reparations in 2020 when they created a first-in-the-nation commission to research and propose payments and policies to boost black Californians who are descended from slaves.

Task force members recommended up to $1.2 million in direct payments for every eligible black resident but failed to garner support from Newsom and black lawmakers—and from Californians themselves, the majority of whom oppose cash reparations. The commission spent two years and $2.5 million in taxpayer funds to write an 1,100-page set of recommendations.

Original News Source – Washington Free Beacon

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