RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

Budget cuts have forced the cancellation of The Inland Empire's premier biennial air show.

``March Air Fest: Thunder over the Empire 2014'' will not be held as planned in May in the face of fiscal constraints, according to March Air Reserve Base operations chief Col. Samuel ``Bo'' Mahoney.

`I did not make the decision to cancel March Air Fest lightly,'' Mahoney, a U.S. Air Force reservist and commander of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, said. ``In a democracy, it is important to bring citizens onto the installation to see firsthand where their tax dollars go, to rub shoulders with our military members and get close to the weapon systems of our armed forces.

``Unfortunately, because of the reality of the current fiscal environment and the uncertainty of the future, the only fiscally responsible and prudent action was to cancel the event.''

Mahoney referred to the federal Budget Control Act of 2011 not the recently resolved partial government shutdown as the determining factor behind the cancellation.

The control act spending limits, better known as ``sequestration,'' also prevented military aircraft from participating in the 21st annual Riverside Air Show in April.

Under sequestration, Congress agreed to implement $85 billion in cut, that'ss about 2 percent of the roughly $3.4 trillion in outlays for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

During the 2012 March Air Fest, more than a half million spectators came to see aerial displays over two days, according to organizers.