New York, NY—Feb. 3rd… State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D- Brooklyn) today announced that they will be introducing legislation in Albany to repeal the perennial real estate tax exemption Madison Square Garden has enjoyed since 1982. Elimination of the tax exemption would provide an estimated $11 million per year in additional revenue to New York City.
Madison Square Garden was granted the exemption during difficult financial times for the institution—and when it was threatening to move its two premier sports teams, the Knicks and Rangers, out of the city. But the real estate tax exemption, which has saved the Garden approximately $200 million to date, did not include a "sunset" provision. Senator Golden and Assemblyman Cymbrowitz think that was bad tax policy.
"Madison Square Garden is a New York City gem, the world's most famous arena," Senator Golden said. "But now that it is profitable, the time has come for it to pay its fair share of taxes. The exemption may have made sense in 1982, but it doesn’t make sense 22 years later. Putting Madison Square Garden back on the tax rolls is fair and proper tax policy."
"New York City and New York State are facing looming budget deficits, and exemptions like the one Madison Square Garden has received for the past 22 years simply no longer make sense," Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. "The Garden clearly doesn’t need the exemption any more, but New Yorkers sure could use the tax revenue. It is unconscionable that the average New York homeowner pays thousands of dollars in real estate tax annually, while Madison Square Garden has no real estate tax obligation."
Assemblyman Cymbrowitz has introduced his legislation in the State Capitol; Senator Golden will introduce his next week.