Government Spending Cuts Will Cost Local Businesses and Local Governments

Government Spending Cuts Will Cost Local Businesses and Local Governments

For many states, counties, cities, and the businesses located in them, late spring through early fall is a chance to improve their economies.  Thanks to ridiculous federal budget cuts, another revenue boost will be eliminated in many localities.

Air shows attract large crowds, and generate business that affects organizers and vendors alike.  Many of them depend on demonstrations by the Navy’s Blue Angels, or the Air Force Thunderbirds.  Other crowds are entertained by F-16, F-18 and F-22 fighter jets and the U.S. Army Parachute Team, known as the Golden Knights.  This year they are all grounded.

Thanks to the overly drastic budget cuts known as the “Sequester”, cuts in military spending have forced the cancellation of non-defense activities by these highly trained, and highly skilled flight teams.

200 of the approximate 300 air shows will be affected, says John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows.  He says 60 have already been cancelled.  He also predicts that 15 to 20 percent of them will not return next year, even if military participation returns.

“The worst case is that they either cancel and go out of business, or they don’t cancel and they have such poor attendance and they go out of business,” he said.

Some of the larger air shows in larger cities do not expect a significant drop in attendance as a result of the cancellation of the military demonstrations.  But smaller communities fear a drastic loss of attendance, and a noticeable loss of revenue for their communities.

Thunder over the Blue Ridge in Martinsburg, W.V., which is an easy day trip from Baltimore and Washington typically draws 88,000 people.  With the Thunderbirds cancelling, and the inability of the West Virginia Air National Guard to host the show, again because of the budget cuts, they had to cancel the entire show.  Bill Walkup, one of the board members said they considered having the two day event on the civilian side of the airport, but knew they could expect no more than 15,000 fans.  Subsequently, when the Thunderbirds were forced to cancel, the decision was made for them.

Maj. Darrick Lee, spokesman for the Thunderbirds, said the seasonal expense for the team is about 9.75 million dollars.  “Would we prefer to be flying? Of course,” he said. But, he added, “We encourage folks to go and have a good time with or without us.”

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

2 Responses to "Government Spending Cuts Will Cost Local Businesses and Local Governments"

  1. Mike Thurman   April 29, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Since 1946, the mission of the Blue Angels has been to enhance Navy and Marine Corps recruiting, and credibly represent Navy and Marine Corps aviation to the United States and its Armed Forces to America and other countries. The Thunderbirds have been performing the same mission for the United States Air Force since 1953. When they were formed, they were an important tool in raising public awareness of military aviation and the career opportunities available to those interested in aviation. Military aviation was in the early growing stages back then. There was no internet, television was in its infancy and live demonstrations by traveling troupes of air demonstration teams with subsequent coverage in print media was the only way to build public awareness of this increasingly important aspect of a modern military. Military aviation is now over 100 years old and well known to the public. We can learn more about military aviation in an online search on a smart phone than we could by attending air shows for 40 years. Any money spent on military air demonstrations is now only for the benefit of their fans. It is time to thank the generations of people involved in our military air demonstration teams, chalk this up as “mission accomplished” and disband them permanently.

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