State legislators and city council members are pushing for the end of the $17 million annual property tax break on Madison Square Garden, including New York City Public Advocate and Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio.
The lead sponsors Sen. James Sanders Jr., Assemblyman David Weprin and over 40 legislators have signed on to support the bill that would end the permanent tax giveaway that began in 1982, Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl reports. Unions are also pushing for the repeal amid ongoing labor disputes with Cablevision.
“Instead of awarding taxpayer dollars to wealthy corporations that refuse to bargain in good faith, let’s put an end to wasteful giveaways and commit to the investments that can life up more New Yorkers – like early education and public university programs that create real opportunity for all New Yorkers,” said de Blasio in a statement.
Cablevison’s CEO James Dolan controls Madison Square Garden and benefits from the tax breaks given every year, the lawmakers said.
“Originally, Madison Square Garden’s property tax exemption was designed as a ten year tax relief plan,” Weprin said in a statement. “In reality, Madison Square Garden has not paid real property taxes for 31 years which has resulted in depriving New Yorkers of nearly 350 million dollars of tax revenue.”
In 2008, the City Council with the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to push legislation to repeal the tax, but the state Legislature failed to act on it.
Updated: Here’s MSG’s response.
“Madison Square Garden is the only venue in the city that has used its own money, more than $1 billion, to build a brand new arena inside an existing building. All other teams, including the Yankees, Nets and Mets, have received, and continue to receive, significant public subsidies, including property-tax exemptions, that are estimated to total more than $2.3 billion.”