House to hold hearing on economic impact of NHL, orchestra lockouts

Minnesota Wild not playing yet
In this file photo from March 7, 2010, the Minnesota Wild celebrate their 400th consecutive sellout crowd at the Xcel Energy Center. The 2012-2013 season has not started yet because team owners have locked out NHL players over a contract dispute.

A legislative hearing later this month will look at whether lawmakers should consider holding organizations that receive public money accountable when it comes to labor disputes like the current NHL lockout.

Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said the hearing Jan. 23 will examine the economic impact of the NHL lockouts, the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

"All of which have reached out to the state or to their local governments asking for money," he said on The Daily Circuit. "They've made promises of economic activity, they've made promises of supporting the community, of job growth, and when they do that, and then they make those promises and fail to carry that out. That costs us."

Atkins said non-partisan House research estimated that the NHL work stoppage has already cost nearly $6 million in lost state and local tax revenue.

The state and city of St. Paul paid $130 million to help finance the Xcel Energy Center where the Minnesota Wild play. The orchestras have been receiving yearly operating support from the state, including Legacy Amendment funds.

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