Calif. Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, is introducing a bill that would deliver $5 billion in emergency aid to fairs throughout the country that have shut down due to the pandemic. The funds would be distributed through USDA.
“This is one of the first times in history where we've just flat had to shut our doors, and that has had a dramatic impact on the industry. Our revenue is zero,” said Louie Brown, who represents the California Fairs Alliance, in a press call on Thursday.
Fairs in California normally generate $3.5 billion in annual revenue, delivering about $200 million in tax revenue to state and local governments, according to the alliance. They also hold a special place for many communities.
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“They're really important to me,” said Harder. “They're really important to our economy, to our entire community. That's one of the best things we do in the Central Valley.”
Bill Mattos, who chairs the Stanislaus County Fair Board, said fairs in the state lost up to $300,000 of annual revenue after Gov. Brown’s administration pulled state funding. Now that the foundation sustaining the Stanislaus fair has gone broke, Mattos said funding will run out in October.