New York reparations commission gets multimillion-dollar budget to tackle racial injustice

Albany, New York - The newly created New York State reparations commission will have a budget of $5 million as it seeks to undo generations of racial injustice.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (c.) signs legislation to create a state reparations commission to address past and present injustice.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul (c.) signs legislation to create a state reparations commission to address past and present injustice.  © MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

According to CBS 6 Albany, the FY2025 Enacted Budget has allocated $5 million to the commission, which is tasked with developing a blueprint to address the Empire State's past and present legacy of anti-Black discrimination.

The budget will be used to finance the commission's research as well as public outreach and engagement activities.

The body's nine members, announced in February, will receive no compensation for their work, although necessary expenses may be reimbursed.

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Ultimately, the commission will deliver a final report with recommendations to tackle at their root present-day racial disparities in wealth, education, employment, housing, health, the criminal legal system, and more. Advocates argue that because the inequities were created through law and policy, they must be undone through law and policy.

"Today I challenge all New Yorkers to be the patriots and rebuke and not excuse our role in benefitting from the institution of slavery," Governor Kathy Hochul said as she signed the reparations commission legislation last December.

"This bill makes it possible to have a conversation, a reasoned debate, about what we want the future to look like. And I can think of nothing more democratic than that."

The commission is expected to begin its work before the end of June.

Cover photo: MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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