San Francisco, CA

San Francisco considers giving $5 million reparations payments to eligible residents

Beth Torres

How a program costing over $100 billion will be funded by a city with a $14 billion annual budget is unclear.
Photo bymilkos/123rf

San Francisco is one of the cities in the US that is exploring the possibility of reparations for its Black residents. The city has formed an African American Reparations Advisory Committee to study and recommend ways to address the legacy of racism and inequality that has affected the Black community for generations.

$5 million cash, no debts or taxes, or $97,000 a year guaranteed income for 250 years?

The committee has recently released a draft proposal that includes more than 100 recommendations for reparations. One of the most controversial and ambitious suggestions is to provide a one-time payment of $5 million to each eligible Black person who has lived in San Francisco for at least 10 years. 

The proposal also calls for total debt forgiveness, free education, housing assistance, health care access and business grants for Black residents. The committee argues that these measures are necessary to redress the decades of "systematic repression" faced by the local Black community. 

According to the committee, San Francisco has a history of racial discrimination in housing, employment, education, and criminal justice that has resulted in a large racial wealth gap and a decline in the Black population. The committee claims that reparations would help restore dignity, justice, and opportunity for Black San Franciscans.

Critics of the proposal want to know: Who will pay for it?

However, not everyone agrees with this proposal. Some critics have questioned the feasibility and fairness of such a large-scale program. The biggest objection, unsurprisingly, is the astonishing cost associated with the $5 million per eligible Black person proposal.

A recent AP news article stated that:

“An estimate from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, which leans conservative, has said it would cost each non-Black family in the city at least $600,000.”

National Review points out that the cost of this program could easily be multiples of the city’s annual budget:

“If even just 50 percent of the city’s nearly 45,000 black residents met the requirements for the proposed payments, the city would be staring down a $112.5 billion bill. For comparison, San Francisco’s entire budget for fiscal year 2022–2023 is just $14 billion. The budget for the entire state is $308 billion.”

How does the Advisory Committee plan to fund the $5 million recommendation?

Another AP News article (under the heading “How Will San Francisco Pay For This?”) answered:

“It’s not clear. The advisory committee that made the recommendations says it is not its job to figure out how to finance San Francisco’s atonement and repair.”

Here is a brief video about San Francisco’s reparation proposals

San Francisco’s KTVU Fox 2 discusses reparations:

What do you think about San Francisco’s reparation plans?

San Francisco is not alone in its pursuit of a reparation program. I recently wrote about California reparations here on Newsbreak:

California considers paying $640 billion in reparations to Black residents

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