Thursday, June 7, 2007

What Keeps the AFM Afloat?

Most Locals absorbed the 2005 per capita increase, because they could not ask their members to pay higher dues. Now, yet another PC increase is on the agenda.

The IEB has recommended a $2 increase, each year for three years, and the Revenue Committee has recommended a $5 increase, each year for three years. It seems clear that BOTH are pulling numbers out of a hat. They both have the same financial statements to look at, but do they come up with the same recommendation? Not even close.

We all know, from Folio's trumpeting, that the AFM is back in the black. "Savings and Efficiency Lead to a Positive Result," he says. (International Musician, May 2007, p.6.) A close look at the financial statements of the AFM reveal that "savings and efficiency" are not the reasons the AFM is in the black. Nor do we have the constant PC increases to thank. The reason is because in 2006, the AFM collected $653,226 from visa processing fees.

Without this, Folio and the AFM would be in the red.

Processing fees have validated the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, the Russian National Orchestra, the French Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Hamburg Symphony, and many others. Each foreign orchestra makes $40,000 to $70,000 for each date. Each foreign orchestra is guaranteed ten to twenty-five dates throughout the U.S.

Foreign orchestras take this money back to their countries, which already subsidize them. Millions are earned on the backs of the unemployed American musician.

It's an insult to ask these musicians to pay another PC increase.

They have already paid.

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