A Denver city councilwoman facing a runoff election in June said white-owned businesses should pay reparations for the sins of slavery.
During a business forum, Candi CdeBaca — a Democrat socialist — said the race-based tax could be levied by the business improvement districts, as first reported by 9News. A business improvement district is managed by local business owners, residents, and local government officials and can levy incremental tax increases which are then redistributed in a specific geographic region, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“Capitalism was built on stolen land, stolen labor, and stolen resources,” CdeBaca told the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, 9 News reported. “You could be collecting those extra taxes from white-led businesses all over the city and redistributing them to black and brown-owned businesses.”
While a tax levy can be distributed to assist underserved businesses, the tax can’t be applied based on an individual’s skin color. That would be illegal under federal law, but the 37-year-old argued this plan would not be illegal since the taxes levied are “voluntary.”
A spokesperson for Denver’s Department of Finance told 9 News this was false.
“Non-residentially assessed property owners within the BID are required to pay the additional taxes/fees,” said spokesperson Courtney Meihls. “It’s not voluntary.”
Footage of CdeBaca became viral after being picked up by the Libs of TikTok page, garnering the video more than 4 million views. Critics have said this proposal is going too far.
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