The new New Jersey stadium for the New York Jets and Giants took a major step toward becoming reality this week, as the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority signed off on a lease for the land where the structure will be built. Notes Matthew Futterman in the Newark Star-Ledger:
The 14-2 vote essentially clears the way for the teams to move ahead with their plans to break ground on the stadium by the end of June. All that remains is for the team to secure financing for the $1.2 billion stadium and for the plans to pass the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s environmental review of the project.
The most interesting pieces of the lease announcement, though, don’t come until the tail end of Futterman’s article. Anthony Scardino, one of the two sports authority commissioners to vote no on the stadium lease, criticized the state for handing over to the teams all non-football parking revenues from the western half of the sports complex, which includes the Meadowlands Racetrack. And while the teams agreed to pay $1.3 million a year in property taxes to the town of East Rutherford, the sports authority committed to paying any property taxes above that figure – an amount that, if the mayor of East Rutherford gets his way, could be ten times what the teams will be paying.
Given that New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine had previously insisted that the teams needed to work out their tax bill for themselves before the stadium could go forward, this has to be seen as a substantial concession by the state. Not to mention a potentially costly one: If East Rutherford’s mayor is correct about the value of the property, either city or state taxpayers will now be on the hook for around $200 million in reduced tax revenues. Just imagine what the appropriate wrapping paper for that would be.