CA Democrat Proposes To Pay Reparations Despite Record Budget Deficit

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a Clean California event in San Francisco, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A California Democratic lawmaker recently introduced legislation aimed at allocating reserve funds from an economic relief fund to finance reparations in light of the state’s significant budget deficit.

Under California law, unutilized funds from the state’s General Fund are directed to the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties (SFEU), a reserve that lawmakers have discretion to employ for public purposes. Senate Bill 1331, introduced by Democratic State Senator Steven Bradford, proposes that the state’s controller, its chief fiscal officer, allocate 6 percent of the money transferred to the SFEU into a reparations fund established by the bill.

“The bill would require the controller to transfer from the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties to the Fund for Reparations and Restorative Justice an amount equal to 6 percent of transfers from the General Fund to the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties, as specified,” the legislation outlines.

The reparations fund aims to provide financial support for “policies that indemnify African-American descendants of a chattel enslaved person or descendants of a free black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century.”

In a statement to the Washington Free Beacon, Bradford explained that the reparations fund would facilitate the implementation of potential reparations policies endorsed by the legislature and the governor. He defended his proposal to allocate funds from the state’s reserve, emphasizing its importance in addressing systemic inequalities.

Bradford introduced the bill shortly before a government watchdog alerted that California’s budget deficit had surged to $73 billion, attributed to a $24 billion reduction in revenues. Gov. Gavin Newsom had previously projected the deficit to be below $40 billion.