Cash-strapped governments spend big on Paris trip

By MICHAEL BIESECKER and MIKE BAKER | October 1, 2011 | 12:25 PM EDT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — As their cash-strapped governments slashed public programs and shed jobs, records show officials from at least 14 states jetted across the Atlantic in June to attend the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.

The annual summertime exposition in France is among the world's premier events for the aerospace industry, and officials in several states said gathering offered a unique opportunity to recruit potential employers. However, a review of receipts obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request found no direct evidence the taxpayer money spent in Paris resulted in the creation of new jobs back home.

Among the states that sent delegations were North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Connecticut, Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma and New York.