McCrory takes responsibility on market funding

Apr. 20, 2013 @ 02:12 PM

Gov. Pat McCrory offered a candid explanation about who takes responsibility for an initial proposal by his new administration to halve funding for the High Point Market — the buck stops with him.
The Republican governor, who grew up in the furniture market’s shadow in Jamestown decades ago, said he didn’t make the unique nature of the trade show clear to his budget writers as they were crafting his first, $20.6 billion state budget proposal. McCrory spoke at a press conference Saturday afternoon following a 45-minute, private meeting with home furnishings industry leaders.
“I fell on my sword,” McCrory quipped, referring to his explanation to the 42 industry executives about why his initial budget proposal proposed to cut market funding from $1.65 million to $800,000 by the middle of 2014. Earlier this month, McCrory reversed course and dropped the proposal, saying he supports full funding of the High Point Market Authority as the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly crafts a budget.
At the press conference, McCrory acknowledged that he didn’t make clear to his budget-writing staff to break out and preserve state support for the market, which is the single-largest economic event in the North Carolina each year. The trade show, which kicked off Saturday, is the world’s largest home furnishings market.
Furniture industry leaders at the press conference praised McCrory for his candor and willingness to reverse his initial decision.
Doug Bassett, chairman of the Market Authority board of directors, said the governor and industry executives had a productive meeting. The discussion expanded beyond state funding for the trade show to issues such as regulations and the state’s labor force. 
The executives at the meeting represent $9 billion worth of companies that employ 11,000 workers in the state, Bassett said.
McCrory, who also toured showrooms Saturday, said that he’s optimistic about prospects for the industry and the comeback of home furnishings products make in North Carolina.
“We had a productive and good conversation and are building a relationship for an important industry,” the governor said.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528