According to the Associated Press, Rep. Marty Seifert's bill would limit the salary of top arts executives—including Osmo V‹nsk‹, music director of the Minnesota Orchestra—to around $115,000, the salary of Minnesota's governor.
Seifert, citing salaries from $175,000 to $584,000 per year, said in a press conference, "They're hiding behind the term nonprofit. This is getting to be something almost like a scam."
According to an editorial in the Star Tribune, a lobbyist at the bill's hearing said that a high school-band director would take the job for much less than that.
Seifert's salary-cap bill did not make it past the finance committee, but he plans to try again today with a bill stipulating that arts organizations make public their top salaries when fundraising.
The editorial noted that V‹nsk‹ has already raised the profile of the Minnesota Orchestra, and that putting constraints on the music director salary would take Minnesota of the running for world-class conductors. "We think it would be a very bad idea to replace the maestro with a high school band leader," the editors wrote. "World-class artists compete in a world market that has no correlation to a governor's salary.... You get what you pay for."