$415-million -- not only could the city lose that much revenue in local tax revenues because of its shrinking population, it could also cause the casinos to close.
By state law, casinos can only exist in Detroit if the city has 800,000 people, and if they close, that's $150-million hole in the budget, not to mention the loss of thousands of jobs.
City leaders were shocked when I told them the math.
"I didn't know that," said Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh. "That's scary. I mean, clearly we're going to have to rewrite it."
That's not all President Pugh. Since the U.S. Census now puts Detroit under 750,000 people, the city doesn't meet the state requirements to tax income and electricity at the levels it does now. That's another $265-million down the drain.
The only way for Detroit to avoid the lights being shut off is for its politicians to go up to Lansing with a tin cup in their hand and beg.
"What would they want to extract, though. The city's already on the ropes, and nobody benefits from having the major city in extreme financial distress. That doesn't help anybody," said Bettie Buss with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.
FOX 2's Charlie LeDuff asked Pugh whether he's willing to accept cuts in areas such as public service, police, fire or EMS to have the law changed.
"This is going to force us to decide how many employees we really need," he responded.
Detroit leaders are demanding a census recount, but that's going to take too long. It's either go up to Lansing and make a deal or fold.
Here's two excerpts from the Michigan Gaminig and Control Revenue Act:
Section 432.02: (l) “City” means a local unit of government other than a county which meets all of the following criteria:
(l - part i) Has a population of at least 800,000 at the time a license is issued.
Section 432.06: (8) A license shall be issued for a 1-year period. All licenses are renewable annually upon payment of the license fee and upon the transmittal to the board of an annual report to include information required under rules promulgated by the board.
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