In the wake of recent controversies surrounding the National Football League—players beating their wives, players sustaining potentially fatal head injuries, the fact that a team is actually still called the "Redskins"—increased scrutiny is being placed on the league's tax-exempt status. Yes, that's right, the organization that puts on the Super Bowl every year and hires Beyoncé for the halftime show doesn't have to pay corporate taxes.

Last Thursday, State Senator Brad Hoylman wrote an op-ed in the Daily News decrying the league's tax-exempt status, and calling on Albany to take action. At Wednesday's Manhattan Community Board 7 meeting, Hoylman announced plans to propose a bill revoking the NFL's state tax exemption. The NFL's league office is based in Hoylman's 27th district.

Under section 501(c)(6) of the federal tax code, "business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade, and professional football leagues" are exempt from taxation, provided that they are "not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual." Football leagues were added to the code in 1966 to clear up potential antitrust issues related to that year's AFL-NFL merger (the effective founding of the modern NFL.) Since the NFL's 32 teams operate as franchises, the league is organized so that profits are shared by the teams, each of which are registered as for-profit, taxable corporations. League revenues, which come from television deals, sponsorships, gate receipts, and merchandising, total about $10 billion annually. Currently, the NHL and PGA also enjoy tax-exempt status, MLB surrendered it voluntarily in 2007, and the NBA never had it to begin with.

The tax exemption applies to the league office, which is tasked with setting the rules of the game, hiring referees, negotiating sponsorship and television deals, providing grants and low-interest loans for new stadiums (which almost always receive heavy public subsidies), and lobbying on behalf of teams and their owners. While the league office isn't technically organized to earn a profit, it does collect about $192 million each year in membership dues ($6 million per team), all of which are tax-deductible. In New York State, that would directly affect the Buffalo Bills (the Jets and Giants are both based in New Jersey.) On top of that, in his capacity as the owners' top representative, taking decisive, but to-be-determined action to remedy the league's domestic violence issues, Commissioner Roger Goodell earned $44.2 million in 2012, which Hoylman noted is more than what the CEO of Goldman Sachs makes.

Senator Hoylman plans to introduce the bill on the Senate floor sometime next week, and answered a few questions about it for Gothamist via email. While the bill would only revoke the state exemption, he told Gothamist that he hopes it would set a precedent for revoking the league's federal tax exemption, something that Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) have also proposed. Stay tuned for more information once the bill is formally introduced. Until then, sit back, crack open a Bud Light: The Official Beer of the NFL, and enjoy all the slam-bang action and explosive thrills with Terry, Howie, Jimmy and the Gang on Fox NFL Sunday.

What specific law gives the NFL its New York State exemption? New York State law doesn't give a specific exemption to "professional football leagues" the way that the federal tax code does. Rather, the state generally recognizes federal tax exempt status when granting its own tax exemptions. However, the state is not required to do so.

What legal mechanism will the bill employ to strip the NFL of its NYS tax exemption? My legislative counsel is still working on the language of the bill, but we anticipate it will simply be a matter of clarifying that, for the purposes of New York State business franchise taxes, "professional football leagues" are not considered to be tax exempt, regardless of their federal tax exempt status.

At what rate will the NFL be taxed, and about how much state and city tax revenue would you expect to come from the NFL if this bill is passed into law? And would that money be set aside for any specific purposes? The NFL would be taxed like any other for-profit business operating in New York State. They'd be subject to the 7.1% base franchise tax on general business corporations, and the tax revenue that New York State would see as a result would vary from year to year—but we expect it would tend to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The tax revenue would go to the State General Fund, as would tax revenue generated from any other for-profit business.

Does your bill currently have any cosponsors or supporters, either in the Assembly or the Senate? Yes, Assembly Member Deborah Glick will be sponsoring the bill in the Assembly, and we have already picked up several Senate co-sponsors (Tony Avella, Liz Krueger, and Bill Perkins).

Are there any other efforts in Albany to strip the NFL, the PGA, or any other pro sports leagues of their tax exempt status? Not that we know of, but we're continuing to explore this issue as we approach the new legislative session in January.