The Music Has Stopped
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on strike~locked out
The BSO management and the players union are at a stalemate. As time ticks by, more and more information comes to light about the musicians’ pay and benefits and the mismanagement of the orchestra. Here are some facts you should know. I found them in multiple stories and think they are what taxpayers should know about the BSO.
· Musicians get 11 weeks of paid time off per year.· Musicians make an average of $81K per year (it must be a 9 month job with 3 months of paid time off).
· Musicians are unionized and this labor dispute has been going on since the fall of 2018, 9 months, and no contract since January 15, 2019.
· Musicians will have to go on COBRA for their health benefits July 1. They will not loose their health insurance as they continue to say in the news.
· Musicians can get unemployment while off this summer.
· The BSO management is delinquent in paying vendors $2.1 million.
· The BSO management owed vendors $1.2 million in 2017.
· The BSO management cannot “speculate on what the accounts payable balance will be as of September 1, 2019.”
· The BSO needs a good bookkeeper if they don’t know what they owe people. If you do any work or sell any supplies to the BSO, they don’t know how they will pay you.
· Over the last 10 years, the BSO has lost $16 million.
· The BSO went on a 9 day European tour in 2018 despite their mounting debt. They received 3 out of 5 stars for their performance yet hope to be invited back.
· Even while loosing money every year, the BSO spent $5 million in 2016 in a season long celebration of their centennial. That’s a lot of parties.
· The BSO gets almost $2 mill per year from the MD Arts Council budget, $600K from Baltimore County, and additional funding from other counties around the region every year=well over $3 million per year from taxpayers.
It looks like almost every time the BSO plays a concert, they loose money. Management is right to finally address this structural problem. Taxpayers should not bail out the BSO to pay off their outstanding debt or to fund musicians who get 11 weeks of paid time off every year. And when you are in debt, you don’t take a trip to Europe. That’s just digging your hole deeper for a fun time across the pond.
The management and musicians will have to find a way to attract more people to watch their performances. Baltimore City’s crime problem is logically playing a role in declining attendance. The audiences for the BSO are aging and some of those supporters may not come back as they age out of attending events like the BSO. None of this information was presented to the General Assembly in Annapolis when they asked for help to get things on track. We were assured that they had a plan and the problem was small. Had lawmakers known the breadth and depth of the problems facing the BSO, HB 1404 would not have passed.
Delegate Nic Kipke and I, on behalf of the House Republican Caucus, sent a letter to Governor Hogan urging him to withhold the $1.2 million. The BSO must fix the labor dispute with a reasonable pay and paid time off negotiations for musicians, as well as present a plan to get the BSO out of debt and on a sustainable track.
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Should your tax dollars pay for abortions? Click here:
Taxpayer funding of abortion will be a topic during the Democrat debates this week. This is not a question of limiting abortion, just a question of whether your tax dollars should pay for abortions or not.
Free Free Free!!
If there is one theme from the democrat presidential debates this week, it’s “FREE!” Everyone over the age of 12 knows that nothing is actually free.
People on Medicare have worked an entire career and paid into this program. Medicare is going to run out of money in 2026. Every single one of the democrat candidates on stage Thursday night would like to extend healthcare benefits to illegal immigrants. This will certainly entice in a new wave of illegal immigrants to our country. This will be a wave of sick people who potentially cannot work but will be “entitled” to your healthcare dollars. If you think healthcare is expensive today, wait until it’s FREE for anyone across the globe who can figure out how to get into our country!
The other “free” political stunt being touted by democrats running for president is “free college,” and paying off student debt. Student debt is a HUGE problem in this country. Instead of asking why we are facing a crisis of student debt, we should reform this program and also look at the big business of higher education. Yes, it’s a business and has become an ivory tower business that is in need of true reform.
For all those people who went to work or the military instead of college, you will get to pay for your peers that went to college for four or five years. For those of you who chose affordable colleges and worked your way through college, you also get to pay for others who did not do that. It is extremely insulting to ask fiscally responsible people to pay for those who were not. Democrats cannot possibly think they are the Party of the blue-collar workers with this terrible idea.
Or maybe we will get to pay for the student loans for the man who took his girlfriend to Thailand using his student loan money!
Do not insult our intelligence by pretending that any of the “freebies” you are offering will not cost the middle class and working people our hard earned money.
Nothing is free!