The Detroit Symphony Orchestra to Be Funded Via Taxpayers?

A state representative in Michigan, and former professional singer proposes a tri-county (Oakland, Wayne, Macomb) vote to use taxes to support the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

[Vicki] Barnett said the DSO is an endangered cultural gem that adds to the region’s quality of life and can help attract new businesses.

She said she was asked by DSO musicians who live in her district to consider a public tax to keep the orchestra viable and competitive with other major U.S. symphony orchestras.

I’m just curious, how many other orchestras are funded with tax dollars? I’m assuming this is not uncommon.

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3 Responses to “The Detroit Symphony Orchestra to Be Funded Via Taxpayers?”

  1. The amount of government funding that most arts nonprofits receive is a very, very small piece of the overall budget. I work for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and we fund less than 1/2 of one percent of our total operating budget from government funding sources. So, a tri-county tax levy intended to subsidize the DSO would be very uncommon.

    More indirectly, all nonprofits arts orgs (and nonprofit charities) are indirectly subsidized through a lack of taxation, in that contributions to nonprofit cultural organizations are tax deductible. Capital gains for invested assets (endowments, etc) of a nonprofit arts organization are also not taxed. You certainly know this, but that is just a bit of context.

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