UPDATE: McCrory budget slashes market funding

Mar. 22, 2013 @ 06:06 PM

Updated 6 p.m.

The High Point Market would lose half of its state funding under the proposed budget of new Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, which could dramatically change the operation of the group that oversees the city and state’s single-largest economic event.
The Market Authority would lose about $55,000 in state funding for the upcoming fiscal year starting July 1. But after that, McCrory recommends that the Market Authority’s appropriation plummet from $1.65 million to $800,000. The governor released his $20.6 billion budget proposal earlier this week.
Market Authority President Tom Conley said the organization can cope with the 3 percent reduction. But cutting financial support in half would severely strain the Market Authority’s ability to support the event that pumps more than $1 billion into the state economy annually.
“I’m not so sure that we could function at that level,” Conley told The High Point Enterprise.
A spokeswoman for McCrory said the budget proposal reflects difficult decisions the administration has to make.
“The High Point furniture market is a crucial part of the local economy, and while this budget makes some tough choices, Gov. McCrory supports the furniture industry,” said Communications Director Kim Genardo. “The governor is confident this furniture market will continue to be the leader in our country.”
For the past 10 years, state money has funded marketing of the world’s largest home furnishings trade show and shuttle transportation for marketgoers to and from the downtown market district. The state appropriations make up about one-third of the Market Authority’s annual budget of $4.7 million.
If McCrory’s budget proposal is adopted, the Market Authority would face the prospect of cutting rides and transportation services, “which we would be loath to do, or maybe ask the riders to share in the expense.” 
McCrory’s proposal to cut funding in half comes after he made pronouncements of support for the market during last year’s gubernatorial campaign and after he took office in January. McCrory, who grew up in Jamestown, told the Enterprise earlier this year that he has a personal understanding of market because his parents rented their house to marketgoers to make extra money when McCrory was a child growing up in Guilford County.
Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, said he was surprised and disappointed by the governor’s proposal to reduce market funding so much.
“There’s no other appropriation that has the return on investment like the Market Authority,” Brandon said.
Previous Democratic governors, such as Beverly Perdue and Mike Easley, didn’t propose such large reductions to the Market Authority in their previous budget proposals.
Conley said that he’s puzzled why the McCrory administration would propose draconian cuts to the Market Authority. Market supporters plan to lobby the Republican leadership of the N.C. General Assembly to maintain the market’s funding through the 2014-15 fiscal year.
“Those are the governor’s proposed numbers, and it’s not law. We’re going to keep working on getting the second year of funding reinstated. But we’ve got to begin some planning in case it doesn’t happen,” Conley said.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528

 

Tom Conley, president of the High Point Market Authority: “Those are the governor’s proposed numbers, and it’s not law. We’re going to keep working on getting the second year of funding reinstated. But we’ve got to begin some planning in case it doesn’t happen.”

Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford: “I’m both surprised and disappointed. There’s no other appropriation that has the return on investment like the Market Authority.”


Heinz Kattenfeld, chief operating officer of 220 Elm showroom complex: “It’s very disappointing. In his campaign for governor, he (Pat McCrory) said he was going to support market. And he made a big deal about his roots in Jamestown. I’m hoping that legislators across the state realize how important market is for North Carolina.”

High Point Mayor Bernita Sims: “They are trying to figure out a way to balance their budget. And probably the way they view market funding is not one of those things you’ve just got to have. So we are going to go back and ask the funding remain in the General Assembly budget. The market folks are trying to show that there is an economic benefit to the state from the funding we get for market.”

 

The High Point Market would lose half of its state funding under the proposed state budget of new Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, which could fundamentally change the operation of the group that runs the city and state’s single-largest economic event.
In his $20.6 billion budget, McCrory recommends that the Market Authority’s state appropriation would drop from $1.65 million in the current fiscal year to $800,000 by the 2014-15 fiscal year. Each fiscal year begins July 1.
For the upcoming 2013-14 fiscal year, the Market Authority reduction in funding would be 3 percent, or $55,000, under McCrory’s budget.
Market Authority President Tom Conley said the organization, which promotes and provides transportation for tens of thousands of marketgoers each spring and fall, can cope with the 3 percent reduction. But cutting funding in half would severely strain the Market Authority’s ability to support the trade show that pumps more than $1 billion into the state economy each year.
“I’m not so sure that we could function at that level,” Conley told The High Point Enterprise, referring to the prospect of a 50 percent cut in state funding.
For the past 10 years, state money for the Market Authority has supported marketing of the world’s largest home furnishings trade show and shuttle transportation for marketgoers to and from the downtown market district. The state appropriations make up about one-third of the Market Authority’s current annual budget of $4.7 million.
If McCrory’s budget proposal is adopted, the Market Authority would face the prospect of cutting rides and transportation services, “which we would be loath to do, or maybe ask the riders to share in the expense.” 
McCrory’s proposal to cut the market funding in half comes after he made pronouncements of support for the market during last year’s gubernatorial campaign and after he took office in January. McCrory, who grew up in Jamestown, told the Enterprise earlier this year that he has a personal understanding of market because his parents rented their house to marketgoers to make extra money when McCrory was a child growing up in Guilford County.
A press representative for the McCrory administration couldn’t be reached Friday morning. But the new governor has indicated that he wants to give groups that receive state funding time to secure other sources of support to reduce the load on the state budget.
Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, said he was surprised and disappointed by the governor’s proposal to cut market funding so much.
“There’s no other appropriation that has the return on investment like the Market Authority,” Brandon said.
Previous Democratic governors, such as Beverly Perdue and Mike Easley, never proposed such large cuts to the Market Authority in their past budget proposals.
Conley said that he’s puzzled why the McCrory administration would propose draconian cuts to the Market Authority. Market supporters plan to lobby the Republican leadership of the N.C. General Assembly to maintain the market’s funding through the 2014-15 fiscal year.
“Those are the governor’s proposed numbers, and it’s not law. We’re going to keep working on getting the second year of funding reinstated. But we’ve got to begin some planning in case it doesn’t happen,” Conley said.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528