Madison Square Garden and other local sports stadiums and arenas should pay more taxes to help the city through its COVID-19 recovery, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
“I can say as a question of right and wrong what they’re saying is the right direction,” de Blasio commented at a City Hall press briefing when asked by a reporter about a recent letter from council members calling for the state legislature to repeal at 1982 tax break on the Garden.
The nine local lawmakers, led by Queens Democrat Costa Constantinides, also want the city to renegotiate payments from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, Citi Field in Queens and the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
“Back when I was public advocate I was talking about the fact that Madison Square Garden should be paying more in taxes,” said de Blasio, speaking of the position he held from 2010 through 2013 before becoming mayor.
“I think the history in this city and pretty much all over the country was stadium deals were not good deals for the public by and large some of the more recent ones have been better, but mostly they haven’t been that good and everything should be re-evaluated especially at a point where the city’s going to need resources for our recovery,” de Blasio said.
“So I think it’s time to look at all of that,” he added.
Both Constantinides and state Sen. Brad Hoylman applauded the mayor’s remarks.
“It’s great to hear the Mayor is open to having our arenas finally do their part and I hope he’ll engage with them about this,” Constantinides told The Post.
“If the Rangers can pay Artemi Panarin $81 million over seven years, they can surely help make sure we still have subways that get fans to the Garden to see him play,” he said.
“Yes lets pass @BrianKavanaghNY’s bill to repeal Madison Square Garden’s tax breaks and use that money to pay for schools and rent relief,” Hoylman tweeted Monday about legislation authored by his fellow Democratic state senator Brian Kavanagh.
De Blasio was also asked about a second recent letter from Cary Goodman, head of the local Business Improvement District near Yankee Stadium. Goodman asked de Blasio to renegotiate a sweetheart lease granted by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg that charges just $1 per year for rent on public land.
Goodman proposed requiring the Yankees to pay the same as local businesses — between $60 to $120 per square foot or $100 million a year for the stadium’s 1.3 million square feet.
The area mom and pop shops are struggling to survive without fans attending games, Goodman said.
“We all hope and pray that next year baseball will resume in person at some point in the year and the fans will come back and the businesses will thrive, but of course the Yankees should help them through and I assure you they have the money,” de Blasio said.
Reps for MSG and the Yankees did not immediately respond to requests for comment.