Deficits will continue to grow unless we are able to address cost savings in our musicians’ contract, since their direct compensation makes up nearly 50 percent of the orchestra’s total expenses.
Nearly 50 percent! Good heavens! I'll be generous and blame the Star Trib itself for the sub-head "The musicians are half the cost, and that can’t continue." But even so, why shouldn't musicians--- you know, the ones that actually form the orchestra--- be more than 50% of the budget?
This is an awful way to try to make your case. (The board's web site trying to compare orchestra salaries to PhD-holders is almost as bad.) It would be better to state--- as the web site does--- that 80% of the budget is "musicians and concert-related costs." Even so, it would be refreshing to see an honest breakdown of what it really costs to have an orchestra--- not why the current cost structure of the orchestra doesn't work.