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New York City Mayor calls for end to Madison Square Garden tax break

Jan 27, 2014, 11:46 PM EDT

Madison Square Garden Getty Images

If New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had his way, Madison Square Garden would no longer receive its $16 million annual property tax break, according to the New York Daily News.

“We can’t ask the taxpayers to look the other way while a very well-endowed corporation, a profitable corporation, receives a tax cut for a piece of land that is among the most valuable on earth,” he argued during a legislative budget hearing.

The Madison Square Garden Company owns MSG, along with the New York Rangers, NBA New York Knicks, and other properties.

As a condition of the tax break, the Rangers can’t play a home game outside of their arena, which is why they were listed as the visiting team when they faced the New Jersey Devils at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. When the Stadium Series continues on Wednesday, the Rangers will again be the visitors against the Islanders.

de Blasio’s position is opposed by both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Republic State Senate Leader Dean Skelos.

  1. bsaures - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    Its all relative 16 million in property taxes is nothing for a city the size of Newyork its less than 2 bucks per person

    • stakex - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:25 AM

      That’s not really the point…. its that The Madison Square Garden Company is worth about $10 billion dollars, and turned a net profit of about $145 million last year. I don’t think they need the citizens of NY picking up their property tax bill, do you?

      • bsaures - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:23 AM

        At the same time do you think its also fair for the city to basically kick them out the property in 15 years after the just spent a BILLION dollars renovating it out of their own pocket. Im sure they will glady pay that 16 million when they get reimbursed for the billion the city basically screwed them out of.

      • dueman - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:56 AM

        MSG as a company is expected to recoup that $980 million in less than 5 years. That gives them another 10 years to make oodles more profit. You said its all relative…Well 16 million a year, when being “relative” is pocket change to MSG as well, but that money could go to a much better use for the tax payers, than being put in another ultra rich company’s pocket.

      • bsaures - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:47 AM

        You obviously know nothing about accounting that 145 million includes absolutely 0 dollars towards that renovation. All major upgrades like that are capitalized on the balance sheet so what will end up happening is the year they have to move they will likely incur a billion dollar plus loss when they essentially lose that asset for nothing. They will also have to likely spend another billion to build a new complex to replace it. there is also the matter of all the loans they had to take out in order to finance the venture BY THEMSELVES (you will find if you look most nhl,nba,mlb, nfl team stadiuns are owned and paid for by the city and or state costing billions of dollars to the taxpayers).

        So basically its either a 16 million dollar annual credit(They still pay millions every year in property taxes it is just a partial credit) vs having the citizens pay for a billion dollar complex AND recieve no property taxes from MSG. The fact the mayor is complaining about this is completely moronic and out of touch to how good they have it compared to most cities

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:47 AM

        How much do you think Columbia or NYU pulls in every year?

      • basedrum777 - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        bsaures: I don’t disagree with your accounting but here’s the thing: most cities SHOULD NOT be paying to have a team owned by a billionaire for the privilege to play there. NYC is a great example of a city who shouldn’t and doesn’t need to succom to the usual hostage situations teams put cities in. If MSG wants to have its property in NYC then they should pay their taxes. If not try to move MSG to NJ. I’m from NJ and even I think that would be a dumb move on their part.

      • bsaures - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:19 PM

        They arent paying anything in NY tho they are just allowing a group that makes millions of dollars worth of donations and other philanthropic donations to the city pay a little less in property taxes which is more than fair. They have a contract that MSG has honored so there is no grounds for terminating this way.

        I agree that taxpayers shouldnt have to pay for a arena(the small taxbreak they receive because they bring a community together is fine to me tho) but at the same time i also don’t think it is fair that a city can basically steal a billion dollar asset from a company because the city planner messed up and they want the real estate now.

  2. slaugin - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    True but how many other places in the city get Same tax cut treatment?

    • bsaures - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:40 AM

      Well any building considered a landmark/ cultural building. Museums (of which there are dozens in Newyork) all the performing arts centres, The problem is from looking at the article it sounds like the contract that MSG has is as long as every homegame they play is at MSG the break stays in place. If the state breaks the contract MSG could likely sue them for it

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:44 AM

      Schools, hospitals, certain non-profits, etc…

  3. nothanksimdriving123 - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:19 AM

    The Rangers and Knicks should threaten to move to Saskatoon. That would scare the mayor into backing off.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Really? I guess if you’re going to be sarcastic, you might as well go all out on the most implausible scenario possible.

    • DJ MC - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      To save $16 million a year those teams will move to a city with a metropolitan population one-sixth the size…of Manhattan Island alone?

  4. bbk1000 - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:21 AM

    The MSG Company is “well endowed” as de Blasio puts it…..interesting.

    This guy will drive NYC into the ground, I’m glad those half wits elected him, it will be fun to watch.

    • 1historian - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      this is just the opening salvo – the shot across the bow to get their attention

  5. deadrabbit79 - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    Bbk1000…..i agree. NY is going to be like Hill Valley in Back to the Future 2 when Biff was in charge! And its not that far off, the year in that movie was 2015, coincidence? I think not! But if it makes all the liberals and lefties and those looking for a handout happy then so be it. I may have to move

  6. rpiotr01 - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    Typical DeBlasio move – has no chance of actually happening, but makes his ‘base’ happy.

  7. Idaslapter - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    LOL like no one saw this coming when you elected this socialist. This is just the start. New York will be just like Detroit.

  8. nyeagles10 - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    Blomberg now this clown should of voted for Weiner

  9. valoisvipers - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Didn`t the Rangers play some home dates in Europe a few years ago?

    • nj666 - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      away games…

  10. teamstewie - Jan 28, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    MSG probably brings in more tax money for the city regardless of them not paying property taxes. They collect taxes for every ticket and all food and merchandise sold at MSG. They also tax all parking in NYC and all the other outside activities people tend to do when they come to see something at MSG. 15 million is a pittance in comparison.

    • borderline1988 - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Great argument, except almost every business brings in sales tax revenue, why is MSG any different. How about a movie theatre?

  11. joey4id - Jan 28, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    In today’s economy and jobless market you’d think the NYC political machine could use the 16 million to help finance programs for the under privileged. Then again we don’t live in Utopia. Can we really trust politicians to do right by the people with that cool 16 mil? I’m sure the Rangers give back to the community, and I hope they do so very generously…….

    If it is a mere pittance then they’ll have no problem in renegotiating the deal. Right! Perhaps give half of it back as long as it goes to charity. After all, it is the peoples money.

  12. polishblue - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    De blasio is a communist bastard.

    Enough said.

    Go hockey!

  13. brd9214 - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Forget about what this will do to ticket prices.

  14. hockeydon10 - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Even if they’re forced to pay the $16M, they’re not just going to eat it as a loss. They’re going to pass that on to people that attend events at MSG. So, whether the people of NYC pay to make up the $16M or they just force MSG Corp to pass that cost on to attendees is a pretty minimal effect. The people are going to pay one way or another.

  15. jdny - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    I think too many people have no clue what they type into a public comment section. Do a little digging…

    DeBlasio is just following through on previous suggestions by other politicians to revoke the tax break. This is not DeBlasio’s idea.

    The concept isn’t just about sticking it Dolan. It’s about rebuilding Penn Station to accommodate New Yorkers (and New Jersey residents) who pass through Penn every day. MSG was built on top of the original which didn’t have close to the traffic as it sees today. The tax credit was never intended to exist ad nauseum. That’s why it was only renewed for an additional 10 years.

    Dolan KNEW the city and state wanted him out and went ahead with his own rebuilding project thinking no one would have the balls to boot him once he spent the $1 billion. he was given numerous options to move The Garden and negotiate for new tax breaks but he basically told everyone to go to hell.

    Dolan couldn’t give a rats a$$ about New Yorkers unless they spend money on a suite or can play in his band. What’s he going to do… threaten to leave New York? Where could he possibly go and still fill his ego, er, pockets, er, stands with paying customers?

    I’m a season ticket holder for the Rangers and enjoy the games. He gave people in my section and many others the finger when he built the Chase Bridges so we can’t see the scoreboard. It’s time someone stood up and said enough is enough. You had a chance to build MSG5. It’s not like The Garden hadn’t moved in the past. You could have paved the way to a bright new future in the heart of Manhattan but you chose to piss everyone off. Move to the teams to Quebec if you don’t like it, JD. Charge the suite holders an extra $100,000 each.. they can afford it.

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