New York’s Democratic Governor Forms Commission for Slavery Reparations During $4.3 Billion Budget Gap

Earlier this month, San Francisco took a significant step by discontinuing funding for its African American Reparations Advisory Committee. Despite proposing a deemed “minuscule” $5 million, along with additional benefits, for eligible black residents, the committee couldn’t secure even the $2 million needed to cover office staffing and operational costs.

With the city’s estimated expense of $175 billion for these payouts, over ten times its annual budget, New York might have learned from this impractical situation. However, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill last Tuesday to establish a reparations commission, showcasing how making grand pledges with public funds can be seemingly easy, especially in an election year.

Like California, New York’s commission seeks to use taxpayer dollars to explore compensation options for descendants of slaves. Reverend Al Sharpton, as noted by The New York Times, sees the commission as a means to “heal… the wounds,” but these promises may potentially worsen the situation.

Governor Hochul emphasizes that merely acknowledging New York’s historical ties to slavery is insufficient. According to The Associated Press, she stated, “What is hard to embrace is the fact that our state also flourished from that slavery. It’s not a beautiful story, but indeed it is the truth.”

“I know the word ‘reparations’ brings up a lot of conflicting ideas for people,” Hochul said in what could be rightly described as a massive understatement. “A lot of people instinctively dig in when they hear it, without really thinking about what it means or why we need to talk about it.

“Today, I challenge all New Yorkers to be the patriots and rebuke — and not excuse — our role in benefiting from the institution of slavery,” she added.

The nine-member commission is tasked with providing recommendations within a year, which may include monetary compensation, even though New York abolished slavery in 1827, according to AP reports.

Expected suggestions from the committee might propose substantial payouts, potentially costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. This occurs while New York is dealing with a projected $4.3 billion deficit for 2024, as reported by the New York Times.

Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt underscored the sacrifices made during the Civil War as a form of reparations, emphasizing the considerable expense these proposals could impose on the city’s residents, according to the AP.

Moreover, the intake of nearly 100,000 illegal immigrants by New York City this year prompted Mayor Eric Adams to seek financial aid from President Joe Biden, as reported by the New York Post.

Similarly, other states like Massachusetts and New Jersey are considering undertaking reparations studies, as highlighted by the AP.

In May, California’s reparations commission put forth an extensive payout program, including apologies and over $1.2 million per black resident, as reported by the New York Times. This substantial cost comes amid California’s financial turmoil, grappling with a staggering $68 billion budget shortfall.

Given the generous allocations for illegal immigrants, looming fiscal deficits, and significant reparation demands, one can’t help but wonder what’s left for residents in Democratic states without government support or historical grievances.