Dem California lawmaker proposes ‘reparations’ tax on cotton, tobacco, other goods linked to slave trade

Mar 30, 2024 | Political News

A California Democrat lawmaker has proposed a sales tax on items linked to slavery in the latest bid for taxpayer-funded reparations for black people. 

This includes cotton, gold, tobacco, wine, olives, rice, coffee beans, cane sugar, and any other products connected to the transatlantic slave trade. 

The bill introduced by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer stems from a 2023 report published by the state's reparations task force, which is the first such in the nation that was established by Gov. Newsom in 2020. The proposal is among one of 12 bills backed by the California Legislative Black Caucus, per the Washington Examiner. 

California residents who descended from slaves would be the primary beneficiaries of the reparation funds. The bill states that they would be able to pay for tuition or housing loans with the money raised by the tax. 

The tax – with an unspecified rate in the bill – would start to apply at the point of sale in July 2025. 

Despite signing California Assembly Bill 3121 into law in 2020, which created the reparations task force, Gov. Newsom has not shown support for the committee's proposals.  

This includes rejecting a proposed $1.2 million payout for each black resident in California who is a descendant of slaves. Newsom also rejected the reparations task force's bid to have veto power over the state's real estate decisions in order to give black people first priority in the renting and buying markets. 

The Washington Examiner reports that only 23 percent of Californians support reparations.