HIGH POINT, NC – A draft bill approved Monday, Jan. 22, by a state legislative study panel would allow nonprofit foundations to invest in furniture manufacturers to help preserve jobs for North Carolina workers, according to The Dispatch. The proposal is titled the Omnibus Endangered Manufacturers Act. It would also provide incentives and tax benefits, including an exclusion from local property taxes, for makers of furniture and related products, as well as apparel, textiles and textile products.

A North Carolina Furniture Council also would be established to promote the furniture industry, as well as a North Carolina Furniture Fund to award grants to organizations that support the industry, and a Furniture Technology Center to train workers and develop new technologies to better enable the industry to compete with overseas manufacturers.

The legislative research staff said the number of employees making household and institutional furniture and office furniture and fixtures in NC decreased by a third between the first quarters of 1996 and 2006 – from 76,504 to 50,870. Read more.

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