A Detroit lottery would
not cripple the Michigan lottery or other
national lotteries such as the MegaMillions that
cities choose to participate in. A successful
Detroit lottery could potentially free the state
as well as Detroit's citizens from the budget
burden they now carry.
A possible model for
Detroit is Washington, which operates a lottery
for the District of Columbia that helps to fund
education, recreation and parks, public safety,
housing, and senior and child services. The D.C.
Lottery has distributed almost $1.5 billion to
its general fund.
If the state Legislature
opposes a Detroit lottery, then Detroiters
should also explore holding an annual charity
raffle with revenue committed to public safety.
Conversely, a state-run, scratch-off lottery
ticket with proceeds that would benefit Detroit
is another option. These options would be
comparable to the Massachusetts State Lottery,
which divides its earnings among its cities. For
Fiscal Year 2008, Boston received more than $71
million. Something similar could also generate
millions of dollars for Detroit.
One other proposal that
should be considered is creating a Detroit-owned
casino. Among Detroit's three casinos, Greektown
is in bankruptcy and looking for an owner. We
should explore whether the Detroit pension funds
or a state bond could help Detroit purchase the
Greektown casino, which could be managed by an
industry-leading management group.
A Detroit-owned casino as
well as the lottery and raffle proposals would
generate millions of dollars for the Detroit
budget. They would effectively free taxpayers
from carrying the burden and ultimately allow us
to reduce taxes, such as income and property
Furthermore, I envision
Belle Isle as an arts, cultural and
entertainment destination that could generate
revenue for the city through tourism and
increased use by Detroiters. This could include
the reopening of the Belle Isle Aquarium and the
Belle Isle Zoo in addition to restaurants, games
and retail outlets such as gift shops.
What is clear is that all
options and recommendations must be on the table
for consideration and possible implementation.
I am confident that
Detroiters will also keep an open mind as we
navigate this rough terrain together. All ideas
should be explored and Detroiters who have a
stake in the City's fiscal future must be
engaged in this discussion.
Kwame Kenyatta is a
member of the Detroit City Council. E-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org. Ideas can be submitted
K-Kenyatta_mb@detroit.mi.gov or (313)