The North Carolina Symphony plays to audiences across the state. Shows vary in nature from holiday themes to child-friendly performances to movie scores.
But one theme the Symphony consistently plays to taxpayers is “show me the money.”
State taxpayers have supported the N.C. Symphony for several decades, with support of $3.5 million per year in recent years. The tax dollars make up 27% of the organization’s annual $13 million budget.
No doubt the Symphony’s shows are masterfully performed and highly entertaining. Attendees surely derive great enjoyment from the performances.
But there is no justification for forcing state taxpayers to subsidize the recreation of symphony-lovers.
Reasonable people would be hard-pressed to make the case that providing musical entertainment is a “core function” of state government. If the state budget has been “cut to the bone” as some would lead you to believe, why is there still room for millions of taxpayer dollars to be allocated to a musical group?
The symphony is quite popular, playing nearly 100 shows a year across the state to more than a quarter million attendees annually. The popularity further strengthens the argument that taxpayer subsidies are not needed for the symphony to succeed. Voluntary support via admission fees from attendees, sponsorships and private donations is the proper means of support for this group.
Because it forces taxpayers to subsidize an activity that falls well outside the scope of essential government functions, state funding for the North Carolina Symphony is this week’s Waste of the Week.