Furniture market money
Local organizers and supporters of the High Point Market hope to continue funding this year through a critical financial artery that supports key aspects of the world’s largest home furnishings trade show.
Furniture market backers already are making connections in Raleigh as the 2013 session of the N.C. General Assembly opens Wednesday at the State Legislative Building. For 10 years, the General Assembly has provided state appropriations to promote the High Point Market as an industry trade show destination and fund transportation services that shuttle visitors in and out of the market district each spring and fall.
The High Point Market Authority currently receives $1 million for transportation services through a N.C. Department of Transportation appropriation and $655,472 for marketing through the state Department of Commerce. The state appropriations represent about one-third of the Market Authority’s total budget of $4.75 million for its current fiscal year.
Market Authority President Tom Conley said supporters of the trade show at minimum want to maintain the current level of state funding in the General Assembly’s upcoming budget. State legislators should enact a budget by June 30 that will carry the state through the 2013-14 fiscal year.
“Quite frankly, we are realistic. If we can hold the same level of funding we got last year, that would be great,” Conley told The High Point Enterprise.
Conley said they believe that new Gov. Pat McCrory’s personal ties to the area will help furniture market supporters make their case. McCrory, who took the oath of office Saturday, grew up in Jamestown. Conley said that when market supporters met with him at last spring’s trade show, McCrory recounted how his parents rented their home to marketgoers when he was younger to make extra money.
“He clearly understands market and what it’s all about,” Conley said about the new governor.
Conley said that market backers plan to meet with new legislators to educate them on the role of the market, which is the state’s single-largest economic event each year and has a more than $1 billion impact on North Carolina. Market supporters will host a legislative breakfast and reach out to key committee chairmen and chairwomen, Conley said.
“We will continue to spread our message of the importance of the High Point Market,” he said.
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