California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) backed away Tuesday from the idea of paying reparations to descendants of slaves, after a state panel he signed into law calculated the state was liable for hundreds of billions of dollars.
Newsom signed a law in 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, establishing a reparations task force to examine whether California, a free state since its inception in 1850, owed money for slavery.
The committee, composed predominantly of black members, held hearings throughout the state and concluded that California owed black residents $1.2 million each — though it limited eligibility to descendants of slaves.
The committee’s recommendations, approved by a vote last weekend, will now go to the state legislature for consideration. But Newsom, perhaps with an eye to future presidential ambitions, is suddenly skeptical.
Fox News Digital reported:
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declined to endorse the cash payments – which could reach as high as $1.2 million for a single recipient – recommended by his reparations task force, telling Fox News Digital that dealing with the legacy of slavery “is about much more than cash payments.”
While the Democratic governor applauded the task force’s work, he declined to endorse any specific recommendations, though he pledged to continue to “advance systemic changes that ensure an inclusive and equitable future for all Californians.”
“Dealing with that legacy is about much more than cash payments. Many of the recommendations put forward by the Task Force are critical action items we’ve already been hard at work addressing: breaking down barriers to vote, bolstering resources to address hate, enacting sweeping law enforcement and justice reforms to build trust and safety, strengthening economic mobility — all while investing billions to root out disparities and improve equity in housing, education, healthcare, and well beyond. This work must continue,” he said.
Newsom was referring to the committee’s policy recommendations, which include overturning Proposition 209, a law banning the use of race in state hiring and contracts. Opponents of Proposition 209 want the state to be able to give preferential treatment to African African and Latino residents. But the same California electorate that voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden in 2020 also rejected a referendum, Proposition 16, to overturn 209.
Critics of the reparations task force have suggested that Newsom and the Democrats planned all along to ignore some of the committee’s proposals, then to blame Republicans for being the obstacle to implementing them.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.