Community leaders call on Governor Hochul to rescind MSG property tax break

Madison Square Garden has made a healthy profit for forty years as the home of the Knicks and Rangers but has not paid a penny in property taxes.

James Dolan is the billionaire owner of the garden, and in 1980 he was given an exemption on property taxes for as long as the Knicks play every home game at the garden saving him about $43 million a year. Some say it’s time for the state to rescind the deal.

In contrast, Layla Law-Gisko of Community Board 5 said Yankee Stadium pays $84 million while Barclays pays $50 million.

“We treat MSG like its some church or some other nonprofit institution because they don’t pay property taxes like the rest of us do,” Senator Bard Hoylman said. “Like every other business does.”

Some want what they see as corporate welfare for the garden, to end.

At a rally in front of MSG on Friday a group of activists and politicians said it’s time for the state to overturn the garden’s tax exemption, and make Dolan pay what other businesses pay.

But they fear New York Governor Kathy Hochul may not be the person to lead this charge against Dolan and there’s a lot at stake.

“In the last election he spent over $200,000 with tv ads, digital ads, mailers, to support the governor’s candidacy,” said Alice Nascimento of New York Communities for Change.

An MSG spokesperson said the garden is a “significant job creator and economic leader” for the community and city.

The spokesperson also said MSG’s tax abatement is “no different” than the government subsidies received by other stadiums and arenas in New York City.

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