City Council Passes Madison Square Garden Tax Repeal Resolution

The New York City Council’s Finance Committee met on Wednesday to vote on a resolution that calls on the New York State Legislature to repeal a 1982 law granting permanent property tax exceptions to Madison Square Garden. Councilman Corey Johnson, a co-sponsor of the resolution, called it “the only state tax break that was written into state law to benefit one individual company.” MSG provided written testimony, but did not attend the hearing. MSG skips $17.3 million a year in property taxes thanks to a 32 year-old law signed by Mayor Ed Koch.  In 1982, the tax break was deemed necessary because of turbulent economic times, a high murder rate, and the fear that the Knicks and the Rangers would play their home games elsewhere. City Council now thinks that threat is long gone. “For a sports franchise to leave the biggest media market in America, to leave what is the best sports fan base in America…simply would be an inconceivable business decision,” said Council Member Mark Levine. All Finance Committee members voted in favor of the resolution, though the vote has no actual consequences other than a symbolic opposition. Council Member Vincent Ignizio provided a dose of pragmatism to the proceedings.  “This bill is dead on arrival. It’s not happening in Albany.  The Governor’s opposed, the Speaker’s opposed.  It’s not going anywhere.  But I think it gives birth to a broader discussion that this council wants to have.”

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Filed under City Council, Sports, Taxes

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