California Budget Deal Slashes Spending but Includes $12 Million for Reparations

California Budget Deal Slashes Spending but Includes $12 Million for Reparations

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and state legislators struck a deal this weekend to close a $47 billion budget deficit — and agreed to spend $12 million to implement proposals to provide reparations for slavery.

The Sacramento Bee reported:

The budget agreement California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic leaders announced Saturday sets aside $12 million to help the state implement a series of reparations-related bills lawmakers hope will pass this year.

For [Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Wilson, the chair of the Legislative Black Caucus], it was exactly what Black lawmakers asked for, she said. But it also comes in a year when the state was facing an almost $47 billion shortfall.

The money would help support proposals endorsed by the caucus, including having the state apologize for inflicting harm on Black Californians and allowing slavery to occur in the state. reported Saturday on the budget deal, which combines spending cuts and withdrawals from the state’s “rainy day” fund to overcome the shortfall (which CalMatters says is even higher, at $56 billion):

The $297.9 billion spending plan, announced this morning by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Mike McGuire and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, also relies on reserves and pauses some business tax credits to address a remaining revenue gap estimated at $56 billion over the next two years.

The plan makes $16 billion in cuts, including a blanket 7.95% reduction in funding for nearly all state departments and the elimination of thousands of vacant positions, which are collectively expected to save nearly $3.7 billion. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will take an additional $385 million cut at the urging of progressive lawmakers, far higher than what Newsom had originally sought for the shrinking prison system.

Other major reductions include $1.1 billion from various affordable housing programs, $746 billion for health care workforce development and $500 million to build student housing. A scholarship program for middle-class college students will lose $110 million annually, about a fifth of what the governor had originally sought to cut.

The push for reparations began in 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, at both the state and local levels, in left-wing cities like San Francisco. Proponents began recommending massive cash transfers, leading Newsom to back away cautiously from cash payments as a form of reparations.

Democrats continued pushing for reparations, despite the fact that the state’s $100 billion budget surplus in 2022 had crashed to a massive deficit by 2024.

California never allowed slavery, and entered the Union in 1850 as a “free” state. Proponents of reparations argue that California passed a fugitive slave law and tolerated decades of racial discrimination, and say that reparations will set an example for the nation.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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