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N.C. Opinions: Greensboro

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McCrory wisely reverses on furniture market cut

From an editorial in Thursday’s Greensboro News & Record:

Gov. Pat McCrory got the word. The furniture market is a smart investment for the state. He should have known that before recommending a 50 percent cut in market funding in his first budget. He was wise a week ago to restore that funding in his budget plan.

There are plenty of clues the the investment was worthwhile. Passenger traffic at PTI Airport was higher last April and October than in any other months. Why? That’s when the markets are held. They draw visitors from all over the world – tens of thousands of visitors.

Business booms. Tradesmen work around the clock setting up showrooms. Shipping companies move thousands of pieces of furniture and other items for display. A tremendous amount of economic activity takes place.

It doesn’t happen by accident. Public services are needed just to deal with the logistics.

A big piece is transportation. For years, the market has counted on state assistance. Buses and vans transport market visitors all across the area. Not only can visitors catch a ride from PTI airport to their hotel and then to the market district, so can people who arrive at the Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte airports.

The state allocated $1.65 million this year to help operate those buses and vans. McCrory proposed cutting the amount in half next year. A spokeswoman said he expected local sources to make up the difference.

Local sources contribute a fair share now. Showroom owners pay a special tax. The state should participate, too. It reaps many returns on its investment — an estimated $40 million a year in tax revenue, a group of business executives pointed out in a letter to the governor.

He heard. So did his commerce secretary, Sharon Decker, when she spoke at a Piedmont Triad Partnership event recently. Business leaders made it clear to her they expected the state to maintain its support.

State legislators heard, too.

Compared to economic incentives offered to other businesses, state support for the market is paltry and should be increased, not decreased. It matters. It would be foolish to cut back and risk a decline in service. McCrory was wise to admit a mistake and correct it.

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