Our View: Market money: Keep it flowing
Certainly, it was great news last week when N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory ordered money to help fund the High Point Market be restored to the state budget. But that doesn’t mean the issue of securing state support for the twice-a-year market is settled.
As originally proposed, McCrory’s budget would have cut the state’s $1.65 million annual appropriation to just $800,000 in the second year of the biennial document. Fortunately, the voices of market, industry and High Point area residents and officials were heard last week when they went to Raleigh. McCrory, who grew up in Jamestown, ordered officials in the Transportation and Commerce departments to restore full funding, which is vital to promoting the market nationally and internationally and in operating the market transportation system.
But that’s just for the next two years.
The fact of the matter is that state government leaders, especially in the Republican-controlled General Assembly, are in a slow-down, cut-back spending mode. And they are looking everywhere possible for budget savings. So, it is incumbent upon leaders of the High Point Market, the home furnishings industry and the greater High Point area to make the case for continued, substantial state support for market.
We’ve said numerous times over the years that any unbiased, non-political priority ranking of economic development programs to receive state support clearly should include the High Point Market. The return on investment to this area, region and state of more than a billion dollars a year simply makes allocations for market fiscally prudent.
But supporters of the High Point Market must continue making the case for full state support of the market. That’s why it’s important for the High Point Market Authority to move ahead with plans to update an economic impact study done a decade or so ago that’s the source of the $1 billion annual economic impact figure. Such an update is needed to clearly show state leaders — many of whom are new in the General Assembly — the importance of the market.
Additionally, Market Authority officials should keep striving for efficiencies in operations in order to make those dollars allocated by state, city and other sources go further. Evidence of fiscal frugality and wise use of taxpayer dollars helps make the case for state financial support of market, too.
The spring 2013 version of the High Point Market opens in just 10 days. It’s good to know that important state funding for the next two years is secure and immediate worries are over. But making the case for continuing that support is never-ending.