For those that missed it, the Civitas Institute’s “Bad Bill of the Week” last week featured HB 169/SB 188. The bill would continue the state’s subsidy of the High Point Furniture Market to the tune of $4 million over the next two years.
Mark Binker of the Greensboro News – Record responds here. Binker writes at length describing the Market, but this description is completely irrelevant to the point. When finally attempting to arrive at some specific criticism of the Civitas post, he arrives at three main points. First is this:
There’s a pretty good argument to be made that dumping $1.4 billion in the state’s economy benefits the state.
This is based on the projections of “economic developers” coming up with a study detailing estimated economic impacts of the Market. I’ve seen these “economic impact” reports before. For instance, the Teapot Museum in Sparta and the Randy Parton Theatre both were projected by “economic developers” to have a wonderful postive economic impact. How’d they work out? These “studies” already have the assumption that any government-subsidized project generates economic growth cooked into the mix, so they will only ever result in positive numbers, the only question is how much.
Binker also references the similarity between the High Point Market and the Super Bowl – both big events bringing people into town and thus “boosting” the local economy. Detroit has hosted the Major League All-Star game, the NCAA Final Four, and the Super Bowl between 2005 and 2009. All major events projected by “economic developers” to bring major economic boosts to the local economy. How did that work out for Detroit?
Binker’s next attempted point is rather curious. He takes issue with the article mentioning funds being diverted from the Highway Fund to finance the High Point Market. Binker’s response is that it doesn’t make sense to buid roads around High Point to accomodate the 85,000 visitors decending twice a year on the area. But nowhere is that suggested. Rather, it is pointed out that those funds are being diverted from “expanding roads necessary for economic growth.”
Binker ends by stating the state subsidy makes the furniture market “more competitive” and poses the question “Civitas isn’t suggesting that the state would be better off without the market, is it?”
No, we’re not. We are merely pointing out that taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize such an event. Nowhere do we recommending legally banning any future furniture market events.
Binker fails to make the case for why taxpayers across North Carolina should be forced to subsidize the High Point Furniture Market. In his attempt, however, he actually bolsters the case for why taxpayer support is not needed. If the market attracts so many visitors and generates so much economic activity, why should taxpayers be forced to pay for it?