Fans of boneheaded legislative actions will recall that way back in 1982, New York Mayor Ed Koch agreed to give the owners of Madison Square Garden (and also the Knicks and Rangers) a 10-year property tax break to help pay for some renovations to the building, in exchange for the teams promising not to leave town. Except that somewhere in the course of writing the bill, the state legislature forgot to put in an end date for the tax break, meaning the Garden is continuing to rack up property-tax subsidies, to the tune of $15 million a year at last count.
Now, finally, somebody in Albany is actually trying to do something to reverse this 31-year-old action. Assemblymembers David Weprin and James Sanders have introduced a bill to strip MSG of its tax break, with Weprin arguing that “that money could be very well used by the city in tough economic times on things like education, police.”
MSG is also engaged in a bitter battle with one of its unions, which could have something to do with why Weprin and Sanders chose this moment to suggest repeal of the tax break (though they insist otherwise, but then, they would). Regardless, it’s nice to see state legislators actually realizing that it’s possible to undo tax breaks that they handed out decades ago — though not in all cases, obviously, because that’d be crazy talk.