The old Board of Estimate first decided back in 1965 to slice up the city into cable-TV franchise fiefdoms, a setup that has survived largely intact.
“It’s likely that this will be the second time that the city is called on to bail out Hudson Yards because of a lack of revenue.”
While it might seem petty to try to make a multi-million-dollar decision based on a technicality, that’s how the MSG tax break got enshrined—permanently—in state law in the first place.
The decades-long inaction can partially be explained by the odd nature of the tax break: It's the city losing tax revenue as a result, but the city council has no say over state law.
The financing plan includes the state fronting a large chunk of the construction bill, then getting repaid without interest over 30 years, a mechanism that could leave taxpayers on the hook.
The latest cost estimate for the project is a full billion dollars more than the original projected price tag, even after cutting the BQX route short.
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