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Larry Thomas

Update: N.C. governor changes course, wants to keep High Point Market funding

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has reversed course and restored funding for the High Point Market Authority in his proposed state budget for the next two years.

The governor had proposed cutting the state funds in half for the fiscal year beginning July 14, 2014, but changed his mind after learning private funding would not be available to make up the difference, said Kim Genardo, McCrory's communications director.

"The governor directed the Department of Commerce and Department of Transportation Secretaries to continue to fund the High Point furniture market at the current level," Genardo said. "We anticipated there would be local contributions available for the market by the second year, but we've since learned that's not the case. Due to this new information we're restoring full funding."

The decision means the Market Authority would receive $1 million from the Transportation Department and about $655,000 from the Commerce Department in each of the next two fiscal years under the governor's proposal. It's essentially the same amount the group received for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Genardo said the governor issued the directive on Monday, a day before 40 furniture company presidents and CEOs sent a letter to North Carolina legislative leaders urging them to reject the proposal to slash market funding.

Doug Bassett, president of manufacturer Vaughan-Bassett Furniture and chairman of the Market Authority's board of directors, was one of those who signed the letter.

"We greatly appreciate the fact that the governor and his staff looked into the facts surrounding High Point Market funding and have changed course," Bassett said today. "The state needs to be a full partner in the High Point Market and we're delighted that this relationship is going to continue."

The transportation money runs the market's massive shuttle system, and the commerce department funds are used for marketing the promotion of the event.

State funds make up about one-third of the Market Authority's budget.

McCrory's budget proposal will be debated in the state legislature in the coming weeks.

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