As the hype for Super Bowl XLVI reaches fever pitch, the tax man appears to have collection fever over a tax debt owed by the New York Giants. Bankrate reports that officials from East Rutherford, N.J., are after $1.5 million in property taxes that the Giants owe on their training facility in New Jersey.
Giants claim tax exemption
The New York Giants’ financial staff claim that the team is exempt from property tax payments due to a 1970s deal struck with the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) to build the original Giants Stadium. As the Authority is a public, entity and it owned the football field at the Meadowlands, the Giants believed the project was tax exempt. Another part of the arrangement is that the NJSEA pays East Rutherford $6 million per year in place of the property tax for the complex.
Mayor James Cassella disagrees
East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella wants more from New Jersey’s Meadowlands investment, however. He has argued that the New York Giants’ training center is privately developed and therefore should be eligible to be taxed.
The battle has understandably gone to court. Cassella also wants to tax the Meadowlands stadium itself. That structure is co-owned by the New York Giants and New York Jets football teams. The tax bill Cassella wants to see payment on could generate $12 million per year or more for East Rutherford.
East Rutherford needs the money
Reports indicate that Moody’s Investors Service recently downgraded East Rutherford’s credit rating. The ongoing tax battle between the city and the New York Giants is credited as being the primary reason for the ding. There is some doubt as to whether the township will be able to cover its $16 million in general obligation debts, according to Bankrate.
Root for the home team, but make them pay
While New York Giants football fans are no doubt ecstatic over the team’s chances in Super Bowl XLVI versus the New England Patriots, concerned citizens likely understand the importance of sufficient tax revenue. Those who worry about East Rutherford having enough funds to maintain basic services are wondering whether professional sports teams like the New York Giants should receive preferential treatment when it comes to taxation.