Screech! CA Gov. Newsom Hits Reverse on Reparations After Backlash

Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool, File

California’s Reparations Task Force—signed into existence by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020 after the George Floyd riots rocked the nation—recently recommended that the state pay almost $360,000 per person to an estimated 1.8 million black residents of the state who had an ancestor enslaved in the U.S. California has always been a free state since it founding in 1850.


Some individuals would be eligible for up to $1.2 million:

The task force recommends giving just under $360,000 per person to approximately 1.8 million Black Californians who had an ancestor enslaved in the U.S. Other factors would stack additional reparations payments on top of the slavery-specific checks. In total, a Black Californian who is 71 years old and has lived in California his entire life could receive up to $1.2 million, according to an analysis from the New York Times.

The total cost of the program is estimated at about $640 billion, exceeding the nearly $300 billion state budget by more than double, at a time when the state is facing its first deficit in years.

This puts the famously woke governor in a bind—he needs to keep pandering to his far-left base, but he also has a massive budget shortfall. As I reported Friday, the perfectly-coiffed executive took a $45.7 billion budget surplus and turned it into a $32 billion deficit—in just under one year. That’s leadership, folks.

But faced with a proposal that would cost at least twice the state’s annual budget, even the rumored 2024 presidential candidate balked. Dealing with the legacy of slavery “is about much more than cash payments,” he demurred.


Predictably, backlash ensued. And just as predictably, the governor quickly changed his tune:

A spokesperson for Newsom clarified his comments in an email statement to The [Sacramento] Bee.

“The sensationalized framing in pieces published by outlets like Fox News and others is inaccurate. The Governor looks forward to reviewing the final report — and all recommendations — when complete.”

Newsom’s chief communication advisor, Anthony York said that Newsom is not backing away from cash payments, but wants to wait for the report in its entirety to arrive on his desk before he makes any decision.

The screech you just heard came from the tires on Newsom’s car as he—or his driver—frantically tried to throw it in reverse. Newsom is famous for throwing out promises he can’t keep; he pledged that the state would stop doing business with Walgreens because of their stance on abortion pills, but he forgot to do his homework and didn’t realize that California was legally bound to work with the company. In a laughable self-own, Newsom spokesperson Anthony York admitted, “Tweeting is not policy.”

As I wrote at the time: “This isn’t the first time Newsom has had to backtrack: in June of 2021, he banned state-funded travel to red states he didn’t appreciate. Not surprisingly, he was later caught traveling to one of those states, Montana, and even used state funds to pay for his security. Hypocritical, much? Now that ban is in jeopardy, too, as Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, has introduced Senate Bill 447 which would repeal the ban. The Orange County Register opines that Newsom might be behind such an effort as it would allow him to travel to red states to campaign in the future.”


My guess is that although Newsom started this reparations fantasy, he will likely try to stall until his term is up and pass the problem along to his successor. The state simply can’t afford mass cash payments to certain residents, and as I’ve said, the fight for who actually would be eligible to receive them would be epic.

It was all a giant virtue signal—but now Newsom is finding out that many people actually expected results, not signals. You reap what you sow.



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