Home>Articles>Gov. Gavin Newsom Will Not Support Cash Reparation Payments but ‘Supports Recommendations’

Governor Gavin Newsom at 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, June 1, 2019. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Gov. Gavin Newsom Will Not Support Cash Reparation Payments but ‘Supports Recommendations’

Newsom has changed his mind in the past, especially when pressured by outside groups

By Evan Symon, May 9, 2023 7:58 pm

In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom said he would not be endorsing cash payments as reparations, stunning many supporters and stopping the movement for cash payment reparations in California dead in its tracks.

Since the Task Force was first put together in late 2020, following Gov. Newsom signing AB 3121 into law, they have considered and recommended reparations, monetary or otherwise, for African-Americans living in California, for discriminatory practices and slavery of the past, despite that California was never a slave state. While initially encompassing all people of African descent, the group of those qualified to receive reparations was significantly narrowed in March 2022 when the task force voted to limit the possible reparations to those who are an African American descendant of an enslaved person or free Black person living in the US prior to the end of the 19th century.

In June 2022 the Task Force released its first report, giving a recommendation of reparations, in the form of home buying assistance, free college tuition, and business grants. However, one of the many criticisms against the report recommendations was that no estimated monetary figure was attached. In early December, an estimate of $569 billion was provided by the state, leading to disbelief and the threat of lawsuits if the number holds. Later that month, compensation compensation and eligibility requirements were discussed.

However, since the beginning of the year, many parts of the Task Force’s actions have been under scrutiny. The question of compensation has in particular been trounced by the media and residents, opposed to the $800 billion compensation plan the Task Force members came out to say to stop focusing on the monetary part of the plan. A more recent figure of $1.2 million given to each black resident has been similarly scrutinized.

Despite heavy criticism over any cash payments still persisting, the Task Force voted to approve cash payments over the weekend. According to the Task Force’s recommendation, direct cash payments for restitution would be divided between more broader areas of compensation for large groups of eligible people, and more focused compensation based on individual harms of the past. This would included an estimated payment of $13,619 per each year of state residency for health care disparities, $3,366 per each year lived in the state between 1933 and 1977 for housing discrimination, and $2,352 per each year lived in California between 1971 and 2020 for mass incarceration and over policing.

Outside of direct monetary payments, other more social changes were recommended including removing racial bias and discriminatory practices in standardized testing, declaring election day a paid state holiday, updating language in the state’s Constitution, restoring voting rights to all formerly and currently incarcerated people, compensating people deprived of profits for their work, apologizing for acts of political disenfranchisement, implementing rent caps in historically redlined neighborhoods, and investing in and creating free health care programs.

However, despite the recommendation, many members of the Assembly and Senate lambasted the payments and other costly reparations given the overall cost, California running a budget deficit, the majority of Californians against reparations, California was a free state during the Civil War, and multiple other reasons.

Governor Newsom in particular has taken heat, as he found himself in between approving a policy that would financially harm the state or going back on his initial approval of the Task Force several years ago.

James Gallagher
Assemblyman James Gallagher. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“This has been a fool’s errand from the start,” said Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City). “Democrats have promised the world with this reparations task force, and now the massive taxpayer bill is coming due. Newsom has painted himself into a corner, and he’ll have to choose between signing off on a ridiculous policy that will bankrupt the state or admitting once and for all that this task force was nothing more than a political stunt.”

On Tuesday, Newsom said that he would approve many parts of the reparation recommendations, but would not support any cash payments. Instead, he gave a vague approval of the Task Force’s work for coming up with the recommendations.

“The Reparations Task Force’s independent findings and recommendations are a milestone in our bipartisan effort to advance justice and promote healing,” said Newsom to Fox News on Tuesday. “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.”

“Dealing with that legacy of Slavery 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.”

“Following the Task Force’s submission of its final report this summer, I look forward to a continued partnership with the Legislature to advance systemic changes that ensure an inclusive and equitable future for all Californians.”

Newsom says no to direct cash payments

While supporters of reparations had not yet responded to the Governor as of Tuesday evening, opponents embraced the news, as it would either mean an outright veto or that the final report by the Task Force in July or the subsequent bill for reparations would need to be significantly altered to cut out cash payments altogether.

“Newsom has definitely been seeing all of these estimates compared to California’s financial situation right now,” explained Legal adviser Richard Weaver to the Globe on Tuesday. “Reparations aren’t dead, but they are going to be vastly different than what people were either expecting or feared they might be.”

“He mentioned several things he would want, and those kinds of reparations would cost the state very little and do little to harm any future political ambitions. Like greater voting access, although that could be problematic if he want convicts to get the right to vote after immediately getting out. Apologies don’t cost anything. Rent caps in formerly redlined areas are already partially in place due to  rent control coming up in many areas. Updating constitutional language doesn’t cost all that much, although it depends on what he wants updated too.”

“This still needs to be very closely watched, because he has changed his mind in the past, especially when being pressured by outside groups, but it looks like the worst case scenario for reparations has been avoided. And if the Task Force recommendations and bill decide to call his bluff, it could mean that Californian reparations are dead. Period.

“If this was a race, then the reparations car just blew a tire. They can still get across the finish line, but it is going to be a lot more difficult, and supporters will need to compromise and give up a lot to get anything now.”

The final Reparations Task Force recommendations report is due to the state Legislature on July 1st.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Evan Symon
Spread the news:


28 thoughts on “Gov. Gavin Newsom Will Not Support Cash Reparation Payments but ‘Supports Recommendations’

  1. Someone realized that supporting this insane quid pro quo move to buy votes from a special interest segment of the population is bad optics for a possible Presidential run, huh???

  2. Did you watch any footage of the hearings when Black Californians called for cash payments up to $200 million apiece? Or did you see the testimony stating that no payments mean no votes? They were both passionate and angry. This has also sparked California cities, like SF, to form their own “reparations” commissions and propose even more taxpayer money to be dished out. And why in the world would the Reparations Committee put in so much work for nothing?

    Newsom has a hell of a credibility problem with the Black community now that he won’t be able to smooth over with the usual pablum.

  3. One can only assume this “reparations” exercise in stupidity was a Newsom campaign set up, from the very beginning. The one-two cross ruff.

  4. I’ve heard an interesting idea how to solve the issue- simply give black Californians Los Angeles and San Francisco and call it even.
    Though it could be – considering the state of high cities – rather insulting I suppose
    Insult to injury and all that…

  5. They actually believed this was gong to happen? How many times do democrats have to spit in their faces before they catch on?

  6. Gov Newsome has strong political ambitions. If the American electorate ere represented by TV advertisements reparations would be a good way to buy majority votes and win. The reality is African Americans are a minority of the votes not a majority. Of course z[Newsome is going to back away from reparations. He would lose 87% of the electorate

  7. Speaking as a life-long Democrat who basically supports Newsom (for governor, anyway), I would vote against him if he supports reparations beyond, say, $750 per person, total. In fact, if he goes down that road, I’d campaign against him. Ditto for any Democrat.

  8. Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Hairgel Gruesom does have two brain cells to accidentally bump into each other occasionally so as to have a coherent thought. Any rational person with half a brain knows “reparations” is a sure fire way to stoke animosity between people and is therefore a bad, stupid idea. Taking money from someone who never owned slaves, to give to others who were never slaves, is guaranteed to start getting people killed, especially those lazy ass scum demanding it.

  9. Lack of compensation could cause the same thing, what do you mean give money for nothing, you gray people in California still treat Negros as slaves, so you say my Family’s work from back then should keep going unpaid? But you have no complaint about people from other countries coming here getting Social Security because it’s a war in their country that we didn’t start, how can you be so nice to people coming from elsewhere, and keep saying F—k us”???

    1. Don, I grew up in the projects and am white. Worked hard and became successful. My family was not here til the turn of the century. I never received ever benefits, Medicaid, welfare. I owe you nothing, the same as you owe me. I will not pay anyone for the sole reason of skin color. That is racist!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *