The $800 million budget shortfall the state of North Carolina currently faces has been well documented. Just last week, the Senate voted 30-16 to approve a $20+ billion budget that, according to Democratic leaders, would close the revenue gap, while still protecting the most important state services from being ravaged. The House of Representatives is currently drafting their own version of the budget, and just last night members held a public forum where constituents were allowed to offer their own ideas. One thing is for certain, and that is legislators will have to prioritize their spending and only fund the most important government services.
In light of this ongoing struggle to balance the state budget, one particularly frivolous bill was introduced today on the House floor by Rep. Sandra Spaulding Hughes (D-New Hanover). If passed, HB 1937 will appropriate $500,000 to Cooking for Change, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Wilmington that helps provide economically disadvantaged adults with skills for careers in the food service industry.
Perhaps Rep. Hughes has forgotten that the state already offers high-quality, easily accessible education to its citizens in the form of the community college system. In particular, Wilmington is the home to Cape Fear Community College, which offers a program in culinary technology. This curriculum is designed to provide “specific training required to prepare students to assume positions as trained culinary professionals in a variety of food service settings.”
Simply put, it is irresponsible for legislators to use taxpayers’ money to fund their pet projects, especially those that unnecessarily duplicate already existing programs.