Many people have been asking when lawmakers will be holding hearings about the finances of the Minnesota Orchestra and/or St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Well, I have a concrete date for one hearing. This hearing will focus on the economic effect lockouts have had on the community. Here’s the press release describing it. It talks a lot about the NHL, but the Minnesota Orchestra and SPCO will be discussed as well…
St. Paul, Minnesota — With the NHL lockout passing its 100th day on December 24, Minnesota State Representative Joe Atkins says it’s time to talk about the toll the lockout is taking on more than just the NHL’s owners and players.
Atkins, the incoming Chair of the Minnesota House Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, has scheduled a hearing on January 23rd to discuss the economic impact the NHL lockout is having on local communities. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is set to testify. The NHL Players Association’s Executive Director, Donald M. Fehr, has also said local NHL players welcome the chance to testify at the upcoming hearing. Rep. Atkins has extended an invitation to NHL owners and intends to hold the hearing whether or not an agreement is reached.
“Hearing from Mayor Coleman and the players will be helpful, and I hope to have NHL owners there, too, to explain why a business with record-setting revenues is shut down,” said Atkins. “But I’m really hoping to give a voice to all those folks who are being hurt by this through no fault of their own – the restaurant servers, the parking lot attendants, the vendors, the fans, the small business owners – they are the ones who are suffering.”
Atkins says it is appropriate to hold the league responsible for the economic impact the labor dispute is having on St. Paul – particularly in light of the deal that was made when state tax money was used to build the Wild its new home.
“A $130 million investment of tax dollars was made to build the Xcel Center, with the promise of jobs and economic activity. Now, for the second time in the last decade, the NHL isn’t keeping their part of that deal,” said Atkins. “We need to consider legislation that sets out special rules for entities that accept public funds and then lock out employees and hurt local economies.”
To date, the economic loss to St. Paul is estimated by city officials at $9 million. Non-partisan House Research estimates the NHL work stoppage has cost $5,863,903 in lost state and local tax revenue.
According to the audio in this Jan 4 MPR article, musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra will be testifying.
If you want to go to the hearing… Here are details. Information from this website.
WHAT: A hearing on the economic impact of lockouts in the state of Minnesota
WHEN: Wed Jan 23 at 4PM
WHERE: Basement, State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN. (Here are directions to the building. However, instead of going to the Secretary of State’s office, as that website says, you’ll want to go to the basement hearing room.)
I will be unable to make it. (I know! It’s so disappointing!) However, I can put you in touch with some other readers who are going. Keep an eye on the Song of the Lark Facebook page.