By Ken Reed

For the last 32 years, New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden (MSG), a for-profit business, has not paid a cent in property tax to New York City. MSG was granted a tax exemption in 1982. There is no expiration date.

For the tax year beginning in July, the Garden will save approximately $54 million in property taxes, according to George Sweeting, the deputy director of the city’s Independent Budget Office. Since 1982, the Garden has saved $350 million in property taxes due to the exemption.

“Truly, this is one of the wonders of the world: a chunk of corporate welfare unlimited in size and infinite in time,” wrote Jim Dwyer in the New York Times recently.

Former New York City mayor Edward Koch said in 2002 that he thought the tax exemption was only for 10 years. However, the language of the law actually reads that as long as the New York Knicks and New York Rangers play their home games at the Garden for 10 years the tax exemption would continue. And continue it has.

However, a State Assembly committee will consider a bill in the coming weeks to end the exemption, said David Weprin, a Queens assemblyman who has long opposed the tax exemption for the Garden.

Let’s hope Weprin’s work pays off and the state law giving the Garden this sweetheart tax break is wiped from the books.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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