Subsidy Sheet: NYC Budget Watchdog: State Gave Dolan’s MSG $1 billion of NYC Tax Revenue


Thank you to the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO) for publishing a report this week showing the state law exempting Madison Square Garden from New York City property taxes has diverted $946.7 million in NYC government revenue that could have paid for things like parks, emptying overflowing corner garbage cans, or maintaining NYCHA homes. Since 1982, the Governor, Senate and Assembly – which has been controlled by assemblymembers with New York City districts – have exempted MSG from approximately $42.4 million a year in New York City property taxes. The IBO notes the real amount is probably much higher! 

IBO’s report says what we’ve been saying for a while: Independent research shows that subsidies for stadiums and arenas do not work. What IBO can’t say, but we can, is that this subsidy is one of the longest running pay-to-play shows in New York. For pennies on the dollar of his tax abatement, James Dolan (the owner of MSG) has spent a couple million in campaign contributions to get four decades of New York State governors and legislators to take directly from New York City services that matter to the average person and put it into the pocket of his family.

Disgustingly, in our view, the completely indefensible Dolan/MSG subsidy is not much worse than the exploding list of “economic development” boondoggles, ripoffs, and disgraces that New York State and local governments spend $10 billion of public funds on every year!  

New York Corporate Giveaway News:

  • The Investigative Post dives into environmental risks associated with a proposed plastics factory, which is asking the Lockport IDA for $311,856 in subsidies, in addition to low-cost power from NYPA. The firm seeking to build the factory, SRI CV Plastics, will benefit from a limited environmental review. Environmentalists are protesting the proposed factory and calling on the Lockport IDA to reject the company’s application for subsidies. 
  • Governor Hochul recently proposed an executive order to extend the NYC 421-a tax break for developers, but labor unions nixed the idea.
  • A custom metal manufacturer in Clarence is seeking $185,063 in sales tax breaks, $27,938 in mortgage-tax relief, and a 10-year PILOT from the Cheektowaga IDA to relocate to a bigger space in that town.
  • A developer in Ithaca is seeking tax abatements from the Tompkins County IDA for a mixed-use project in Ithaca’s West End neighborhood.
  • Menlo Micro, a company that makes hyper-efficient switches used in aerospace, energy, and communications, announced plans to build in Tompkins County. The company will reap the rewards of the federal CHIPS and Sciences Act subsidies, as well as $6.5 million in Excelsior Jobs Tax Credits from Empire State Development.

Fun Fact: IBO recommends that abatements of local taxes be enacted by the local governments losing the revenue – not the state. Someone should really Reinvent Albany! 

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Elizabeth Marcello and edited by John Kaehny.