California Gov. Gavin Newsom has come under fire from a top Sacramento Republican after he declined to support slavery reparations recommended by his reparations task force of up to $1.2 million for black residents.
The Democratic governor on Tuesday argued that dealing with the legacy of slavery “is about more than cash payments,” and declined to endorse any specific recommendations made by the task force.
As a result, Newsom has gotten himself in a lose-lose situation, according to Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher.
“No matter what he does, he’s going to anger part of his base,” Gallagher told Fox News Digital.
“It will take an absurd mental gymnastics to require California taxpayers, including new immigrants, low-income workers, and even some African Americans to pay for a wrong committed by other states more than 150 years ago, but that’s the position Newsom put himself in,” Gallagher said.
The Republican leader then slammed Newsom for making “big promises he can’t or won’t keep.”
Newsom signed a bill commissioning the task force in September 2020, following a national reckoning with racially-biased police brutality spurred by the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The move made California the first state to embark on exploring potential slavery reparations for black Americans, despite the fact that slavery was banned in the state before it became a part of the US.
“This has been an important process, and we should continue to work as a nation to reconcile our original sin of slavery and understand how that history has shaped our country,” Newsom said last week. “Dealing with that legacy is about much more than cash payments.”
But he declined to endorse any specific recommendations by the nine-member committee, which on Saturday voted in favor of cutting eligible black Californians a minimum of $360,000 in checks.
The task force recommended that the state create a new agency that would determine how much each resident would be owed due to factors like their ancestors being enslaved or being targeted by racist policies like redlining, which denied government-issued home loans to applicants in black neighborhoods.
The suggested payments ranged from a few thousand to as much as $1.2 million depending on eligibility factors.
“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,” Newsom said.
The task force didn’t offer any ideas on where the money would come from.
The committee will soon submit its final recommendations to the California legislature.