Guess How Much California Reparations Committee Wants From Taxpayers JUST To Make A Plan?

By Victor Smiroff | Sunday, 16 June 2024 01:00 AM
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Image Credit : Photo by Los Angeles Times

In a recent development from Alameda County, California, a committee tasked with devising a reparations plan for African American residents has requested a two-year timeline and a $5 million budget to formulate the said plan.

This request, as reported by San Francisco's NPR affiliate, was made in late May, ahead of the committee's July deadline to propose how local taxpayers should contribute to the reparations. The committee, which was established in March 2023 with a budget of $51,000, only convened for the first time in November of the same year.

According to The Washington Free Beacon, the committee is chaired by Debra Gore-Mann, the president of the Greenlining Institute, a left-leaning organization based in Oakland. The institute lobbies the California legislature for subsidies for utilities and low-carbon energy, and advocates for "race-aware" and "race-based" tech and banking policies.

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This request for funding comes on the heels of the failure of California's most ambitious reparations plans, which were derailed by state and local budgetary constraints. San Francisco, for instance, abandoned its reparations initiative due to the city's deficits. The city's reparations committee had proposed $5 million cash payments for each eligible African American resident, a proposal that was ultimately replaced by a formal apology from local lawmakers.

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The California legislature has sidestepped the concept of direct cash payments, favoring instead proposals such as subsidized property taxes and expedited business licenses for African American citizens. Critics, however, have raised concerns about the constitutionality of these measures. California, like San Francisco, is grappling with significant deficits following Governor Gavin Newsom's swift increase in spending, which coincided with a shrinking tax base and a sluggish state economy.

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Local Oakland activist Seneca Scott, a proponent of reparations, criticized the committee's request, stating, "$5 million and two years to research [reparations] is stupid and a grift." He further argued that supporters of reparations should already have a clear vision of what the reparations should entail.

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Alameda County is not immune to budgetary challenges, with deficits projected to reach up to $100 million. Oakland alone reported a $117 million deficit this fiscal year, with a potential $175 million shortfall anticipated for the next.

Gore-Mann, who earned over $340,000 in 2022 from her role at the Greenlining Institute, did not respond to requests for comment. During the May 30 committee meeting where she requested a $5 million budget, she told Oakland officials, "[w]ithout a sense of what resources might be available, it’s hard to keep commissioners engaged."

The Alameda County lawmaker who established the reparations committee acknowledged the county's dire financial situation and admitted that $5 million "is a hefty amount of funding," especially considering the budget shortfall.

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