DETROIT (WWJ) –Â Would a city-run lottery in Detroit solve the cityâ€™s financial problems? One state lawmaker thinks so.
WWJâ€™s Vickie Thomas reports that state Rep. Dr. Jimmy Womack, D-Detroit,Â is drafting legislation to start a â€œDetroit onlyâ€ lottery. He plans to meet with the state lottery commission next week.
TheÂ idea is the brainchild ofÂ Councilman Kwame Kenyatta, and it comesÂ in the midst of a DetroitÂ financial crisisÂ that has created the threat of massiveÂ layoffs, service cuts, and even potentialÂ insolvency.
â€œI believe itâ€™s going to be a political challenge. Iâ€™m up for the task,â€ said Kenyatta about a city lottery. â€œWhen we explore opportunities to revitalize municipalities, we have to take into consideration that often times youâ€™re unable to cut your way out of a deficit and you have to generate income and revenue.â€
The Detroit Democrat said he doesnâ€™t believeÂ recent claims that the whole idea would rob money from schools, which receive funds from the state lottery. The state lottery, instituted by a public vote in 1972, has collected about $45 billion, with $15 billion of that going to schools throughout Michigan, other partsÂ going to retailers and the rest paid out through winnings, Womack hasÂ said. Itâ€™s too early to know how much a Detroit lottery could potentially collect.
â€œThey may in fact say that, but Iâ€™m not so sure that we get significant dollars from the lottery for schools. Iâ€™ve served on the school board, as you know, and I am a member of the House of Representatives and there are dollars that go there, but I donâ€™t believe that they are significant enough to really generate a conversation,â€ said Kenyatta.
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