NY Gov. Hochul Establishes Reparations Task Force

With a focus on the state’s racist and enslaved past, New York is about to form the third such task committee in national history.

A panel appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul will investigate how slavery contributed to racial prejudice in housing discrimination, police brutality, economic disparity, and disproportionate imprisonment of African Americans. Remedies are a complicated enterprise that will engage stakeholders in a heated political and fiscal discourse about the past and its consequences for the future.

New York is joining California and Illinois in leading these efforts.

The particulars have not yet been discussed on whether the New York panel will propose monetary or other forms of reparation to descendants of slaves. The gap between California’s aspirations and its financial realities was made clear by its multibillion-dollar price tag. This is pie-in-the-sky dreaming. The money is simply not there.

After the governor and the state legislature select nine members to serve on a task group, they will compile a report outlining nonbinding suggestions for ending centuries of prejudice. Legislators at the state level might then work to implement any of the suggestions.

An American first, the Chicago suburb of Evanston made history in 2021 by handing out home subsidies of up to $25,000 as restitution. Public hearings have been slated to continue into the new year as the reparations panel for Illinois continues its duty. One of the most audacious and nebulous reparation proposals—a one-time, $5 million payout to anybody eligible—was put forth by a separate 15-member task team in San Francisco. The group made 111 recommendations in all.

State authorities in New York anticipate a budget shortfall of $4.3 billion for the fiscal year of 2024 and potentially bigger shortfalls in the years to come, highlighting comparable budgetary challenges. There may soon be budget cuts, leading to further demands by leftwing congress members to increase taxes on the wealthy—a move that Ms. Hochul strongly disagrees with—to close the budget deficits.

Since Ms. Hochul admitted she had initial reservations about the law, she seemed to recognize the severity of the subsequent discussions.

“More than offering them a mere apology 150 years later” would be required, she said, for there to be a genuine fight against racism.