Donovan Will Not Allow Giants/Jets to Put Bergen County’s Economy at Risk
Bergen County Executive Kathleen A. Donovan said today that she will take immediate steps to review tax breaks given to the New York Giants and New York Jets to make certain that the teams which are attempting to create a business monopoly at the Sports Complex “no longer continue to rip off Bergen County taxpayers.”
Donovan said that her administration will explore with East Rutherford officials their ongoing litigation against the Sports Authority and also review independent action to require the teams to pay taxes on the sale of Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs). The County Executive said that she will consider taking legal action against the tax breaks given to the New York Jets in Florham Park in Morris County as well. “Everything is now back on the table,” according to Ms. Donovan.
Since 1976 the Giants and later the Jets have not paid a dime in taxes to Bergen County. Now they have built and own a $1.6 billion building and they still don’t pay any taxes to Bergen County. “That’s wrong and it needs to be corrected,” stated Donovan.
In addition the County Executive has directed the County Police to take steps to assure the safety of fans arriving and departing MetLife Stadium on game days. According to Ms. Donovan, “the New York Giants and New York Jets cite the safety and convenience of their fans as a veiled excuse for their frivolous lawsuit designed to give them a monopoly at the Sports Complex. The County Executive cited increased enforcement of traffic laws with special attention to pedestrian safety as a priority.
Donovan continued, “in their lawsuit the New York teams rely on what they call a ‘cooperation agreement’ which was agreed to, not negotiated, by former (acting) Governor Codey. I described that so-called agreement as a give-a-way then and do so again today. According to the New York teams, that agreement allows them to hold development rights ‘to build themed dining and team and other stores…’ The New York teams admit that this isn’t about the convenience of their fans. It’s about their greed and their effort to monopolize a public space to the detriment of every East Rutherford, Bergen County and New Jersey taxpayer.
She concluded, “The New York Giants and New York Jets have put Bergen County’s economic growth at risk. Unemployment in Bergen is over 7 percent, a slight decline since I took office. We still have 40% unemployment in the building trades. American Dream Meadowlands will put some 9,000 construction workers back on the job and employ an additional 15,000 full time workers. It will create an economic ripple with service jobs and venues including hotels, which pay additional taxes and reduce local burdens.”
“The New York teams have gotten their way for four decades. They have once and for all abused their free ride. It’s time they not only paid their fair share but participate as full contributing members of the business community. Our Meadowlands property is some of the most valuable real estate on the east coast and as County Executive I owe it to my constituents to protect their economic interest, not the Giants and Jets.”