New York, NY—Feb. 24…State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) today charged that Cablevision’s proposed development of the West Side Rail Yard would be financed on the backs of New York City taxpayers because Cablevision saves more money each year through an "outdated" real estate tax exemption for Madison Square Garden than it would contribute annually to the MTA
under its West Side proposal.

Madison Square Garden, which is owned by Cablevision, pays no real estate tax. It was granted an exemption by the State in 1982 when facing difficult financial times—and when threatening to move the Knicks and Rangers out of the city. But that tax exemption, which has saved the Garden approximately $200 million to date, did not include a "sunset" provision. Senator Golden says the Garden no longer needs the exemption and that it should be rescinded.

"When you compare the $11 million that Cablevision saves every year through this outdated exemption with what it would contribute to the MTA under its West Side proposal, the numbers add up beautifully—for Cablevision, but not for New York City taxpayers," Senator Golden said.

Senator Marty Golden continued, "Cablevision’s $350 million bid for the Rail Yards, which would be amortized over 49-years, would cost the company $7.14 million per year. So by continuing to bear this needless exemption, New York taxpayers effectively would be buying Cablevision the most valuable property remaining in New York City, with almost $4 million left over to boot. That is terrible tax policy and terrible public policy."Cablevision purports to be putting its money where its mouth is in the fight over the Rail Yard property, but it’s doing it on the taxpayer’s dime. That cannot be permitted to happen," Golden concluded.

Senator Golden has introduced legislation in Albany to rescind the perennial real estate tax exemption for Madison Square Garden, as has Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D- Brooklyn).