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January 31, 2008

AY vs. MSG: a larger tax break, but not for the arena

Atlantic Yards Report

AYR uses yesterday's unanimous City Council vote on a resolution asking the state to do away with Madison Square Garden's ridiculous property-tax exemption, and the amendment introduced by Council members Letitia James and David Yassky seeking to pull a similar tax break for Atlantic Yards before it starts costing the City even more money (it was tabled in committee), as a jumping off point for a comparison of the two corporate-welfare packages.

"If the Council thinks subsidizing MSG is a bad deal for the City and State, they should take another look at the tax breaks and subsidies being offered to the proposed Atlantic Yards Development: they are even worse," James and Yassky said in a statement. It didn't make it past a council committee, but it may recur in the future.

Such tax breaks and subsidies may indeed be much larger, as MSG pointed out, but they are not quite comparable. In fact, the tax exemption that now saves the Garden some $11 million a year is much larger than the exemption anticipated for the Atlantic Yards arena, mainly because much of the land would be tax exempt for decades whatever was built on the arena site, thanks to an as-of-right tax break. And if MSG builds a new arena, well, some new subsidies likely would be on the table, as Metro reported today.

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NoLandGrab: While Oder does his best to shed light on the differences between the two, the net result is still enough to make one's eyes glaze over, which is undoubtedly just what developers and their political patrons want when the taxpayers' money is being dished out.

Posted by eric at January 31, 2008 10:09 AM