Readers Write: (May 29): Minnesota Orchestra, cigarette tax, minimum wage, the IRS

  • Updated: May 28, 2013 - 8:05 PM

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Hard to portray board’s governance as good

The Star Tribune has printed a number of letters from Minnesota Orchestra board members asserting the need for substantial pay cuts within the orchestra, because otherwise the endowment will run out. It seems that these board members prefer the opposite result — ruining the orchestra to save the endowment.

For more than 30 years, my wife and I have attended 20-plus concerts per season and have contributed additional money each month, but no one from inside the orchestra has contacted us to give additional support to help solve this crisis.

We are all expected to believe that there is only so much money and nothing can be done. What dreadful leadership!

It is clear that this board has completely lost the trust and goodwill of the community. Its members must resign so that people with a greater appreciation of the Minnesota Orchestra and its place in our community can take over.


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A May 27 letter writer notes that those critical of the board frequently misunderstand its duties, i.e., that “the board must necessarily have a long-term horizon — often 10 to 20 years or more.” This is correct, and I absolutely agree. But if that is a criterion for good board governance, why then did the board not act responsibly 10 years ago when the problem of musicians’ salaries began to evince itself?

I would suggest that this board may have not have exercised its responsibilities properly and should be replaced with a new board that has fresh eyes, ideas and opinions to resolve the problem.


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It’s exploitative, and our leaders know it

Gov. Mark Dayton is quoted in a May 26 article as saying “we were going to raise taxes progressively. And we did.” Really? How is a huge cigarette tax increase that affects mostly the poorest citizens progressive? Smokers are everyone’s favorite whipping boy and raising taxes on them is like bullying the weakest kid on the playground for his lunch money. Who’s to complain?

Dayton and the Legislature should be ashamed they are paying for the Vikings stadium on the backs of people who have no voice. And the phony self-righteous rationalization has got to stop — that it will lower smoking rates. How hypocritical — you need smokers to keep smoking for the tax money. But don’t worry, they will, as is also pointed out in Sunday’s Star Tribune — economists say “smoking is largely unaffected by taxes.” Evidence that these poor smokers can’t stop. But you really knew that all along, didn’t you?


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