Any drama this year with state market money?
When it comes to state funding for the High Point Market, the expression “what a difference a year makes” might serve as an understatement.
In 2013, advocates for High Point and North Carolina’s largest single economic event each year were stunned when Gov. Pat McCrory — who grew up in the shadow of the furniture market in Jamestown — proposed cutting state market support in half. Supporters of the High Point Market and city quickly reacted, furiously lobbying the GOP governor to shift his stance.
McCrory did, acknowledging during a press conference at the spring 2013 furniture market that he’d made a mistake. McCrory reversed course and advocated full state funding for the market, which actually ended up with slightly more money when the N.C. General Assembly concluded its 2013-14 fiscal year budget in the summer of last year.
This year, money for the High Point Market hasn’t surfaced as a problematic issue as McCrory and General Assembly leaders hammer out a compromise $21 billion spending plan. The upcoming fiscal year starts July 1.
Republican leaders in the state House and Senate have approved separate budgets that include the same level of market funding for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
The market authority would receive $1.2 million for transportation services during the spring and fall trade shows and $655,000 to promote the world’s largest home furnishings market.
"We are grateful that Gov. McCrory fully funded the High Point Market Authority in his budget proposal, which really set the tone for the budget process this year," said Doug Bassett, chairman of the board for the Market Authority. "Both the Senate and the House followed the governor's budget recommendation for us in their respective budgets.”
Bassett told The High Point Enterprise that an updated economic impact study of the market released last fall has made a difference in the outlook of legislators.
Among the conclusions of the study:
• The High Point Market, as well as furniture sales generated at the show, generate about $123 million in state tax revenues each year
• Each trade show draws more than 76,000 visitors who spend more 600,000 room nights, generating money for Piedmont Triad hotel operators and room tax revenues for counties
• Market-related activities generate 37,000 jobs throughout North Carolina
Trade show advocates say they don’t expect any surprises with proposed funding for the market as House and Senate negotiators hash out a compromise state spending plan that can pass both chambers.
“"We will continue to monitor the budget negotiations in Raleigh, but we are extremely thankful for the support High Point Market has received thus far," said Bassett, president of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. Inc.
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