Albany creates $10 million fund to repel Asian-American assaults

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers have agreed to create a $10 million fund in the state budget to combat discrimination against Asian-Americans in the wake of recent brutal assaults against their community, sources told The Post.

Under the deal, $10 million in grants will be distributed to community and social service groups to help address bias and curb crimes committed against Asian-Americans. A key component will be bystander training programs to help detect and report discrimination.

Sources said Friday some of the assistance could also fund civilian patrols.

“The onslaught of hate crimes and bias incidents against the Asian American community absolutely necessitates consideration of state resources to counter the ugly bigotry immediately and in the long term,” said state Sen. John Liu (D-Queens), the former city comptroller, told The Post.

“Asian-Americans are actually Americans too, and New Yorkers too, and yes, human too.”

A person holds a sign during a protest at recent violence against Asian Americans at Columbus Park, New York City in March 2021.
A person holds a sign during a protest at recent violence against Asian Americans at Columbus Park, New York City in March 2021.
Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

The $10 million in grant money will be disbursed by the New York Department of State. The governor and lawmakers would recommend groups to be considered for funding.

New Yorkers have been shocked and outraged by the spate of attacks against Asian-Americans, particularly the 65-year elderly woman who was punched, kicked and stomped in Midtown as she walked to church.

Video surveillance showed that security officers who viewed the attack that occurred in front of their building did not attempt to help her.

In addition, $3 million will go to the state Health Department to produce more detailed data on the diverse Asian-American populations in New York. Asian-American advocates have long complained about spotty data.

New York state lawmakers also approved $3 million in funding for the state Health Department to create more data on NY’s Asian-American populations.
New York state lawmakers also approved $3 million in funding for the state Health Department to create more data on NY’s Asian-American populations.
AFP via Getty Images

Meanwhile, negotiations continued between the embattled governor and leaders of the Assembly and Senate, to hammer out the rest of the $200 billion-plus budget after blowing past the April 1 deadline to adopt one.

Sources said the governor and lawmakers were closer to reaching a deal on raising taxes on the wealthy by billions of dollars.

The Democratic-run Assembly and Senate proposed $7 billion in tax increases on millionaires, corporations, estates and capital gains.

Cuomo claims the budget gap is only $2.5 billion.

Sources said Cuomo — who is mired in multiple scandals involving his handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic, sexual harassment allegations and use of state workers in preparing his memoir — has agreed to approve more modest tax hikes on wealthy and corporations.

The tax hikes would fund an increase in spending.

Protestors hold signs in support of Asian Americans outside the 360 W 43rd Street building in Midtown Manhattan on March 30, 2021.
Protestors hold signs in support of Asian Americans outside the 360 W 43rd Street building in Midtown Manhattan on March 30, 2021.
Getty Images

The federal coronavirus emergency spending package approved by President Biden delivers $12.6 billion to the state treasury. That’s enough to balance the state’s budget, said NY Sen. Charles Schumer, the powerful US Senate majority leader, suggesting huge tax increases were unnecessary.

Also Friday night, Cuomo and lawmakers were:

  • Closing in on a deal to create a $2.1 billion “excluded workers fund” to provide insurance benefits to illegal immigrants, other non-citizens and former inmates. The parties are still hashing out the requirements for applying and qualifying for benefits.
  • Reaching an agreement to spend $300 million in grants for small businesses, particularly hard-hit restaurants during the pandemic, plus $100 million to expand broadband tech to underserved areas and an additional $350 million for highway and road improvements.

Lawmakers also agreed to increase the maximum tuition assistance program grants for college students by $500. More money would also go to SUNY and CUNY.

The Post previously reported a deal to spend $1.4 billion to steer additional aid to needy schools over the next year.

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Erin Mosley

Erin Mosley writes for the Hollywood section of Newzinto.