Reparations Committee Member Says Money Is ‘Least Important Piece’ As Cost Estimate Reportedly Reaches $800 Billion

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Font Size:

One member of the California reparations committee recently said the “dollar figure” of the committee’s reparations proposal is the “least important piece,” while economists have reportedly predicted an $800 billion price tag.

Democratic state Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the California Reparations Task Force into law in 2020. The group aims to put together a proposal on how to atone for a legacy of discrimination against the state’s black residents. A cadre of economists tapped by the task force say a comprehensive reparations program that addresses a legacy of discrimination in policing, healthcare and housing may cost the state roughly $800 billion, NBC News reported in March.

The economists made clear the proposed total excludes the devaluation of black-owned businesses, as well as repayment for property the committee argue was seized by the government without cause, Fox News reported. The multi-billion dollar number reflects the financial losses black people have faced over generations, according to CalMatters.

“We want to make sure that this is presented out in a way that does not reinforce the preoccupation with a dollar figure, which is the least important piece of this,” reparations committee member Cheryl Grills said in a recent interview with CalMatters. “It’s important, but it’s the least important in terms of being able to get to a point in our country’s history and in California’s history where we recognize that the harm cuts across multiple areas and domains and that the repair needs to align with that.” (RELATED: California Reparations Report Demands Tree Planting In ‘Black Neighborhoods’ For ‘Shade Equity’)

The economists’ current cost estimate is nearly three times the amount of the state’s annual budget of roughly $300 billion, the Washington Examiner reported. Newsom said the state has a $22.5 billion deficit back in January, citing a drop in tax revenues, according to CalMatters.