“Funds for low-cost green technology education,” S.B. 1396, which is sponsored by Sen. Garrou (D- Forsyth) and Sen. Brunstetter (R- Forsyth), would appropriate $100,000 dollars for the creation of a biofuels go-kart competition for North Carolina high school students. This bill has two stated objectives, to “increase [students] empirical understanding of environmentally responsible technology” and “lead them into careers in science, engineering, and environmental advocacy to ensure the development and public acceptance of this emergent technology”.
The bill fails to mention some of the things it will not do. The first of these is that it will not increase students’ empirical understanding of fiscal responsibility. The impression that many of the students may leave the competition with is that it is OK to spend $100,000 of taxpayer dollars on a go-kart competition when the state government is facing a nearly $800 million deficit for the coming fiscal year.
Another point this bill fails to consider is that the hypothetical competition may not even accomplish either one of its objectives. What students will learn is that an engine can run on biofuel. This educational tidbit can be learned by perusing any number of articles published on the matter. There is also the issue that the students who would be entering this competition would probably already have an interest in science, engineering and environmental advocacy before they entered the competition. Lastly, that this competition would really do anything to encourage the “public acceptance of this emergent technology” is an absurd stretch of the imagination.
Legislators need to consider the severity of the deficit and how they are affecting it, especially through frivolous expenditures such as those called for in S.B. 1396.