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Budget cuts may stop MacDill Air Force Base AirFest air show

2:49 PM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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Video: If cuts go through, MacDill air show off, millions lost

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Tampa, Florida -- 10 News has learned of three major Tampa Bay impacts for MacDill Air Force Base if Congress can't work out a budget deal to stop sequestration cuts.

We've now confirmed with MacDill staff that the entire MacDill AirFest air show planned for April may be canceled if Congress can't come up with a deal to avoid sequestration and automatic budget cuts.

The air show routinely draws more than 100,000 people out to the base from the community. The Navy's Blue Angels are set to be the stars this year.

But the Pentagon's plans to handle sequestration and save money include canceling most of the Blue Angels' appearances at air shows, starting in April.

If that happens, the Navy flight team will not come to Tampa. A MacDill spokesman says if the Blue Angels won't make an appearance, the base will call off the entire air show weekend.

The other big news comes from our partners at USA Today from a source at the Pentagon.

The Air Force plans to mirror the Army and the Navy and give its civilian workers 22 unpaid furlough days to save money. That's $95 million in lost wages for Air Force civilians in Florida.

Calculating our area's share of those furloughs is tough. MacDill says it has just under 3,000 civilians working here.

That would make Tampa Bay's share of the lost payroll -- and this is a very rough number -- around $20 million in missing wages that won't go into the Bay area's economy.

An Air Force document does get specific on building projects that would be put off. Eight projects at MacDill Air Force Base would be postponed.

That's a value of $6.6 million, much of which would have been paid to local contractors and suppliers in Tampa Bay.

MacDill also says temporary workers will be sent home in early March, workers here for a limited term will not be renewed, and a civilian hiring freeze will start if sequestration isn't avoided by March 1st.

The pay and benefits for people in uniform and veterans are not going to be touched by these cuts. That's one reason civilians may end up absorbing so much of it.

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