Bergen County, NJ is the largest populated in the state and home of the Meadowlands sports complex.
County Clerk Kathe Donovan has called for Governor Corzine to ask the "New York Jets and New York Giants [to] share a portion of their windfall profits with the very people who are providing them with enormous taxpayer generated subsidies[.]"
Citing economic hardships and unemployment, in a letter to the Governor dated November 13, 2008, she writes:
Legislative leaders and your administration officials have declared that “everything is on the table” as you grapple with this financial crisis. Everything, that is, except the New York Jets and the New York Giants.
“Everything on the table” means that Trenton’s commitment to return homestead rebates to hard pressed property tax payers may be broken. Aid for schools in suburban, rural and urban districts may be cut and state colleges will be forced to raise tuition costs to make up for reduced state aid. Hospitals here in Bergen County and elsewhere that rely on Medicaid and Charity Care payments will almost certainly see a significant reduction in state aid which could force a cutback in services. And this comes at a time when workers are being forced to switch from high paying to lower paying jobs without health care benefits which will add significantly to the Charity Care burden borne by hospitals at a time when Charity Care payments could be reduced.
It would appear that no one in New Jersey will escape. Except, of course, the New York Jets and New York Giants.
The teams and their billionaire owners will receive approximately $800 million in windfall profits from the sale of Personal Seat Licenses. This comes on top of the exhorbitant economic and other incentives (including development right and zoning) gifted by state officicials.
There are many who believe that the New York Jets and New York Giants provide significant economic and identity (?) benefits to New Jersey. That may be the case. But New Jersey has been more than a gracious host. Officials at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority have said that a contract exists between the New York teams and the Authority. Is that contract any stronger than a commitment to New Jersey taxpayers?
At a time when practically every individual and business in New Jersey will be asked to make a significant sacrifice, is it too much to ask that the New York Jets and New York Giants share a portion of their windfall profits with the very people who are providing them with enormous taxpayer generated subsidies?
Before New Jersey property tax owners are asked to give up their homestead rebate checks, shouldn’t we ask, or better yet demand, that the New York Jets and New York Giants share at least a small portion of their windfall revenue? This isn’t money they worked for. This is money they are in effect “extorting” from their seasonal ticket holders. It is found money. At least some of it should find it’s way back to the public treasury.