House Legacy Committee head suggests reallocation to fund locked-out musicans

The chair of the Minnesota House Legacy Committee says she is considering reallocating funds currently designated for the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

DFL State Rep. Phyllis Kahn made the suggestion at the end of public testimony Tuesday afternoon on the effects of musician lock-outs at both orchestras. Kahn said she likes the idea of continuing concerts that the locked-out musicians have organized themselves.

"We have had this set of concerts that are going on," Kahn said. "Is there some structure we can set up that can continue that with the money that we would just funnel to the groups?"

The Minnesota Orchestra received almost $700,000 for fiscal year 2012 in legacy funds. Orchestra management said it is being held in a special fund for the duration of the lock-out. Several lawmakers expressed disappointment that the contract disputes have continued so long, and urged management to settle quickly.

"I've been sitting here watching these things that I am totally uninterested in like sports venues and sports stadiums and so forth, and we seem to put complicated packages together," Kahn said. "Can we put together a similar complicated package for both of these two entities?"

Kahn said she will consult with staff about possible reallocations and may hold further hearings.

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