Over the weekend, the nine-member, state-appointed task force met with a group of economic consultants to discuss the financials behind reparations for Black Californians who are descendants of enslaved ancestors.
According to economists, the state may owe hundreds of thousands of dollars based on several scenarios in which the reparations task force found Black Californians should receive compensation, whether in the form of cash, grants, tuition assistance, loans, or other financial programs.
For example, the task force considered redlining, where Black homeowners are denied mortgages and homes are devalued in minority communities, a practice that the state’s residents could be due reparations.
Four economic consultants calculated that each Black Californian who lived in the state between 1933 and 1977 experienced a “housing wealth gap” of $223,239, or $5,074 for each year during that time, which could be included in compensation.
The task force also pointed to the disproportionate health outcomes Black people historically face in California.
Economic experts cited that the life expectancy of Black Californians is 7.6 years shorter than their white counterparts.
While there is no price tag on life, the economists used a $10 million valuation on each person’s lifetime and found the gap in life expectancy for Black Californians to be worth $127,226 per year.
This weekend’s meeting was the first time the task force gathered since June when the team released a 500-page report detailing California’s history of slavery and racism.
The estimations provided at the gathering were “rough,” and there are still numerous pages of data analysis to complete, economists said.
Despite the findings, some politicians on the task force noted that it would still be a “major hurdle” to pass any reparations plan in the Legislature.
“For a state that didn’t have slavery, don’t think they’re going to be quick to vote on this final product of this task force,” said state Sen. Steven Bradford, a task force member. “We need to stay unified, we need to be together. We aren’t always going to agree, but we have to put forth a unified front.”