Survey: Most Californians don't support reparations payments for Black residents

Support for a reparations plan for Black residents doesn't appear to be popular in California, according to a new survey.

While most Californians surveyed believe racism occurs in the state, less than half of them don't support the idea of a reparations task force that's working on how much the state may owe some Black residents.

The survey by the nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released Monday said even though 71% of Californians think racial and ethnic discrimination contributes to economic inequalities in the United States, only 43% of those surveyed said they support having a state task force seeking reparations.

The survey also said that nearly 60% would approve of an official apology from the California lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom for the state's longstanding discrimination policies and practices.

The latest findings from the PPIC, a San Francisco-based nonpartisan think tank come nearly a month after the first-of-its-kind nine-member reparations task force approved a series of recommendations that suggest as much as $1.2 million be given to eligible Black residents in California. The PPIC study counters a similar reparations study conducted by UCLA released last month that said, "a clear majority of Californians support reparations for Black residents harmed by the nation’s legacy of slavery."

The reparations task force did not immediately respond to USA TODAY for comment Wednesday about the PPIC survey. The group is scheduled to submit its final recommendations to the California State Legislature by June 30. Lawmakers will then decide whether to follow through with the reparations and accept or modify the task force's proposals.

Some state economists have estimated that California, which is poised to have the world's fourth-largest economy, could owe roughly $800 billion in reparations, slightly more than double the current state budget of $306.5 billion.

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Survey provides a snapshot into Californians views on reparations, racism

The reparations findings are part of a larger statewide survey conducted with more than 1,500 Californians between May 17-24. The polling on reparations provides "a snapshot in time on their views," said Mark Baldassare, the Public Policy Institute of California's survey director.

Other reparation-related findings include that about 8 in 10 Californians surveyed view racism as a problem in the U.S., among them 42% say racism is "a big problem," with the majority of those respondents identifying themselves either as a Democrat or Black. About 37% surveyed said racism is "somewhat of a problem."

The survey also said about 45% of Democrats and 51% of African Americans, 40% of Asian Americans (40%), and 40% of college graduates polled say that racial and ethnic discrimination contributes a "great deal" to inequality.

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Formal apology from the governor, lawmakers viewed favorably, survey says

Among those surveyed who have a less than favorable opinion of the California state reparations task force, 87% support a formal apology by the legislature and governor. And of those who support a formal apology from lawmakers, 63% have a favorable opinion of the task force, the survey said.

The survey also said about 53% of those polled believe that the legacy of slavery affects the position of Black people in American society today. Democrats, African Americans, Democrats, Asian Americans and college grads were among those who think that slavery's legacy affects Blacks' position a "great deal" in the U.S.

Whether the reparations actually occur, the hot-button topic will be on "the legislature and governor to raise public awareness, work through the issues, and seek common ground," Baldassare said.

"Will there be public hearings, town halls, televised interviews, a citizens' assembly, or ballot measures?" Baldassare said. "These actions could lead to major changes in attitudes toward the legacy of slavery and views about reparations."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Many Californians don't favor reparation payments for Black residents, survey said