McCrory touts market funding
New Gov. Pat McCrory, who grew up in the figurative shadow of the High Point Market, said Tuesday that he supports continued state funding of the trade show that’s an anchor of the local and state economy.
The furniture market plays a pivotal role in North Carolina, McCrory said in an interview with The High Point Enterprise during a visit to the Triad Tuesday on his fourth official day in office.
“One thing I talked in the campaign with furniture market leaders is trying to work, in a long-term strategy, just not to have the furniture market in place for one or two weeks,” McCrory said in an interview prior to attending an open house at the Empire Room in downtown Greensboro.
McCrory wants to build off the tens of thousands of people who come across the world to the High Point trade show each spring and fall, offering reasons for the furniture industry to widen its presence.
“That in turn would fill up our hotel rooms and help our economy,” the governor said.
The High Point Market Authority receives $1.66 million in annual state appropriations. The money funds transportation services, such as shuttles, for marketgoers and supports promotion of the world’s largest home furnishings trade show. The market is the single-largest economic event in the state each year, with an estimated economic impact of more than $1 billion. State money for the market is provided by the N.C. General Assembly, which convenes today for the 2013 session at the State Legislative Building in Raleigh. But governors play a key role in the budget, such as presenting legislators with a proposed fiscal plan during the early part of a General Assembly session.
The General Assembly began providing state money to the furniture market in 2003. The funding began during the development and opening of the World Market Center in Las Vegas, which has become the other main home furnishings trade show in the United States.
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Gov. Pat McCrory’s family moved to Guilford County from Ohio in 1966 when McCrory was a child. The family relocated to the area in part because McCrory’s father, Mac, worked for gasoline pump manufacturer Gilbarco Inc. in Greensboro. His father helped design and develop one of Gilbarco’s first self-service gas pumps. McCrory, who attended Jamestown Elementary School, made his first bid for office in 1974 when he was elected student body president at Ragsdale High School. After college and during a professional career with Duke Energy Corp., McCrory became longtime mayor of Charlotte.