California Democratic state Sen. Steven Bradford is warning African Americans not to get their “hopes up” for massive reparations payments from the state.
Bradford’s message comes after the California Reparations Task Force recommended over the weekend that the state pay up to $1.2 million in reparations to each eligible Black resident.
The state lawmaker, who served on the task force, claimed that it’s possible that Black residents could receive cash payments “if the money’s there,” but argued that receiving million dollar checks in repayment for historical discrimination is “not happening.”
The reparations panel held a public meeting in Oakland, California, on Saturday and voted on the final set of recommendations to be sent to the state’s legislators.
In addition to the payments, the nine-member panel recommended the state apologize to Black residents.
U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who attended the meeting, stated afterward, “Reparations are not only morally justifiable, but they have the potential to address long-standing racial disparities and inequalities.”
But Bradford told potential recipients not to expect huge payouts when the California government hasn’t figured out where that money would come from.
The state lawmaker from Los Angeles did say that “anything’s possible if the money’s there,” but added he will stay “realistic” about what actual payments may be, according to the Associated Press.
He told residents to have the same outlook, saying, “I don’t want to set folks’ expectations and hopes up that they’re going to be getting, you know, seven-figure checks. That’s just not happening.”
Bradford’s comments did rub some people the wrong way. Los Angeles resident and reparations activist Marcus Champion remarked, “That is not the way you come to the table to pay a historic debt. That is not the way that you come to the table in any type of negotiation. Start as high as you possibly can, and then work from there.”
L.A. Democratic Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer echoed Bradford’s caution, saying, “We have absolutely no idea right now what will or will not be approved” by the legislature.
Earlier estimates predicted reparations could end up costing as much as $800 billion, while California’s total annual state budget is roughly $300 billion.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.