Posted on July 9, 2024

California Budgets up to $12 Million for Reparations Bills, a Milestone in Atoning for Racist Legacy

Sophie Austin, Associated Press, July 3, 2024

California plans to spend up to $12 million on reparations legislation under a budget signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, marking a milestone in the state’s efforts to atone for a legacy of racism and discrimination against Black Californians.

The reparations funding in the $297.9 billion budget Newsom signed over the weekend does not specify what programs the money would go toward. Lawmakers are not considering widespread direct payments to Black Californians this year.

The state Legislature is weighing proposals to issue a formal apology for California’s role in perpetuating discrimination against Black residents, to create an agency to administer reparations programs, and to identify families whose property was unjustly seized through eminent domain.

The funding comes after federal reparations efforts have stalled for decades.

“We often say the budget is a reflection of our values and our priorities, so the fact that there’s any money for reparations should be a reason for celebrating,” said state Sen. Steven Bradford, a Los Angeles-area Democrat, noting he hoped the allocation would have been larger.

No state has gotten further along in its consideration of reparations proposals for Black residents than California, but some have made significant strides. Illinois and New York passed laws in recent years to study reparations proposals for African Americans. {snip}

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Senate President Pro Tempore Mike McGuire, a Democrat, said at an event Monday that “the $12 million is not nearly enough” but that lawmakers worked closely to secure the money during a tough budget year.

It could cost the state between $3 million and $5 million annually to run the reparations agency {snip}

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