Holding the line on market funding

May. 21, 2013 @ 09:30 PM

State funding for the High Point Market wouldn’t change significantly under a proposed state budget released this week by Republican leaders in the Senate.
The $20.6 billion budget plan calls for approximately $1.635 million for the High Point Market Authority, down less than 1 percent from the $1.65 million currently appropriated. The state appropriations are used to provide shuttles and other transportation services to marketgoers and promote the world’s largest home furnishings trade show and single-largest economic event in the state each year.
The proposed funding in the Senate version of the budget is important. The Senate plan will become the base document that the N.C. General Assembly will use in crafting a budget that takes effect July 1 for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
“We’re obviously very appreciative of the support, but we want to seek money closer to what we asked for,” said Market Authority President Tom Conley. “We’re realistic and appreciative.”
Market backers want to secure $2 million in the upcoming budget. Conley told The High Point Enterprise that trade show advocates will continue to lobby local legislators to secure as much funding as possible.
The top leader of the state Senate is Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, whose legislative district includes parts of Guilford County that adjoin the High Point city limit. Another key GOP leader in the chamber is Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, who serves as Senate majority whip and represents the Randolph County portion of High Point.
State funding for the High Point Market has gained a high political profile in the past two months. In March, new Republican Gov. Pat McCrory initially proposed cutting state funding for the trade show in half by the middle of 2014. But after intense political blowback, McCrory reversed course last month and said he supports maintaining current funding for the market.
State appropriations make up about one-third of the overall Market Authority annual budget of $4.7 million. Formed last decade, the Market Authority oversees operations of the trade show each spring and fall.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528