It could cost California more than $800 billion to compensate Black residents for generations of over-policing, disproportionate incarceration and housing discrimination, economists have told a state panel considering reparations.
The preliminary estimate is more than 2.5 times California’s $300 billion annual budget, and does not include a recommended $1 million per older Black resident for health disparities that have shortened their average life span. Nor does the figure count compensating people for property unjustly taken by the government or devaluing Black businesses, two other harms the task force says the state perpetuated.
Black residents may not receive cash payments anytime soon, if ever, because the state may never adopt the economists’ calculations. The reparations task force is scheduled to discuss the numbers Wednesday and can vote to adopt the suggestions or come up with its own figures. The proposed number comes from a consulting team of five economists and policy experts.
“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 responsible for mustering support from state legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom before any reparations could become reality.