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St. Cloud Air Show Organizers Watching Federal Budget Cut Negotiations

Bruce Centerwall

ST. CLOUD – Organizers of this summer’s St. Cloud Air Show have a big interest in some automatic federal budget cuts set to take effect on March 1st.

If the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts known as the sequester can’t be averted, the military’s flight demo teams will most likely be grounded for the rest of the year.  Military officials say the popular U.S. Navy Blue Angels and Super Hornet teams, as well as the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, would be shut down from April 1st through September 30th.  All three are scheduled to be in St. Cloud this summer. The move would save the U.S. Navy $20 million, but it would also curtail one of its top recruiting tools.

St. Cloud Air Show Director Chris Chapman says they have been in contact with the Blue Angels.  He says they’re moving forward with the assumption they will be here, and have already booked their hotel rooms.  He says they should know more about what’s happening the first week in March.

Chapman says regardless of what happens with the federal government, the St. Cloud Air Show will still go on.  They still have 11 other acts that have signed-on to perform.

The St. Cloud Air Show, organized by the Central Minnesota Boy Scout Council, is scheduled for July 20th and 21st at the St. Cloud Regional Airport.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is warning that “people will lose their jobs” if across-the-board budget cuts take effect as scheduled next week.

Obama is calling the across-the-board cuts a “meat cleaver” approach to reducing the deficit. He says the cuts would impact the nation’s military readiness and investment in areas like education.

He’s calling on Republicans to back a plan proposed by Senate Democrats that would offset the sequester through a combination of increased tax revenue and targeted budget cuts. GOP lawmakers are opposed to more tax revenue, saying Obama got the tax increases he wanted during the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

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