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September 20, 2008

A second look at the Kucinich hearing, the Yankee Stadium controversy, and the future of the Atlantic Yards arena

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Atlantic Yards Report

It's worth a second look at some of the charges and countercharges that emerged Thursday in response to Assemblyman Richard Brodsky’s report on the new Yankee Stadium and the hearing held by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), chair of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called “Gaming the Tax Code: Public Subsidies, Private Profits, and Big League Sports in New York”. (Hearing video is now available.)

What are the hurdles for Atlantic Yards?

1) Investigators from the committees headed by both Brodsky and Kucinich have concluded, at least on an interim basis, that city officials "gamed" the tax assessment for the new Yankee Stadium so it would be high enough to justify the amount of tax-exempt bonds requested by the team. If similar shenanigans were found regarding the Atlantic Yards arena, tax-exempt bonds might be scotched, costing the developer perhaps $165 million.

2) Even if no such subterfuge is found, the arena is still jeopardized by a proposed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule that would require that PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) fluctuate so they look like generally applicable taxes, rather than fixed so they look like bond payments. The city and state have lobbied hard to get the arena--as well as additional financing for the Yankees and Mets--grandfathered in. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn disagrees.

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NoLandGrab: AYR goes on to answer 17 more of your burning questions about the hearing and Atlantic Yards such as "Can Atlantic Yards developers get arena bonds?" and "What exactly is Atlantic Yards?" Well, we do have an answer to the second question.

Posted by amy at September 20, 2008 2:50 PM