Leading Member of San Fran Reparations Task Force Now Suggests Taxing Billionaires to Fund Payments
Ross Ibbetson, Daily Mail, May 16, 2023
A leading member of San Francisco’s reparations task force has suggested taxing billionaires to fund payments of $5million for every black resident.
The Rev. Amos Brown, who has led Third Baptist Church in the Fillmore district since 1976, said he was ‘very, very cautiously optimistic’ that officials will enact some form of reparations.
‘Of all these billionaires in San Francisco, you could establish a reparations fund,’ he told The New York Times.
Brown is a member of both the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee (AARAC) and a California committee set up by Gavin Newsom.
The Reverend, who is also president of the San Francisco branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in March said that the organization would not support a $5m lump sum for citizens – arguing that instead the money should be redirected to community projects.
DailyMail.com has contacted Brown for clarity on his position following his remarks about a billionaire tax to fund reparations.
San Francisco supervisors in March backed the idea of reparations for black people in principle but the specifics – including the $5million lump sum – are yet to be approved.
That controversial proposal is among 100 other recommendations made by an advisory committee.
There is no deadline for supervisors to agree on a path forward. The board next plans to discuss reparations proposals in September, after the AARAC issues a final report in June.
The idea of reparations is not new, but the federal government’s promise of granting 40 acres and a mule to newly freed slaves after the Civil War was never realized.
It wasn’t until George Floyd was killed in police custody in 2020 that reparations movements began spreading across the country.
The state of California and the cities of Boston and San Francisco are among jurisdictions trying to atone not just for slavery, but for decades of policies which campaigners claim denied blacks access to property and education.
The advisory committee that made the recommendations says it is not its job to figure out how to finance San Francisco’s atonement and repair.
That would be up to local politicians, two of whom have expressed interest in taking the issue to voters.
San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey said in March he would back a ballot measure to enshrine reparations in the San Francisco charter as part of the budget. Shamann Walton, the supervisor leading the charge on reparations, backed that idea.
Among the advisory committee’s recommendations is overhauling education with an Afrocentric K-12 school in the City by the Bay; hiring and retaining black teachers; mandating a core black history and culture curriculum; and offering cash to at-risk students for hitting educational benchmarks.
Recommendations in health include free mental health, prenatal care and rehab treatment for impoverished black San Franciscans, victims of violent crimes and formerly incarcerated people.
Reverend Amos Brown (pictured outside City Hall in San Francisco in March) is the vice chair of Gov Gavin Newsom’s advisory committe.
The advisory committee also recommends prioritizing black San Franciscans for job opportunities and training, as well as finding ways to incubate black businesses.
In 2020, California became the first state to form a reparations task force. But nearly two years into its work, it still has yet to make key decisions on who would be eligible for payment and how much.
The task force has a July 1 deadline to submit a final report of its reparations recommendations, which would then be drafted into legislation for lawmakers to consider.
The task force has spent multiple meetings discussing time frames and payment calculations for five harms experienced by black people, including government taking of property, housing discrimination and homelessness and mass incarceration. The task force is also debating state residency requirements.
Previously, the state committee voted to limit financial reparations to people descended from enslaved or freed black people in the U.S. as of the 19th century.