Would you put $25 in your savings for a chance at $100,000?

cash in wallet »Play Video
Stock image
OLYMPIA -- A unique effort is looking for Legislative approval to get more people to save -- especially low income families.

Some in Washington want to follow Michigan's lead and offer a $100,000 to entice you to save. For every $25 placed in savings, you get a chance at the yearly grand prize drawing.

"That would be something to win, wouldn't it?" said credit union customer Carrie Guyman. "But I haven't been taking part in raffles because on Social Security you don't spend your money taking chances."

But that's the beauty of this proposal -- supporters say this isn't gambling -- all you're doing is placing your own money into savings, and that puts you in line for the grand prize.

The coalition of credit unions is telling state lawmakers this is really targeted at low-income people.

"Once they get and start savings and re-establish themselves back in the community, they get themselves off of public assistance," said Lee Wojnar of the Asset Building Coalition. "That's what we're aiming for, building this community."

But the main source of income for the state is sales tax. Some lawmakers worry asking people to save goes counter to that.

"In one hat, we're asking our citizens and consumers to please open up their wallets and spend," said Rep. Gary Alexander (R-Olympia).

Supporters say people will still buy things, but they won't have to resort to credit or payday loan places.

"So this is not in conflict with that other message, but focused on a population that shouldn't be extending their credit anyway," said Rep. Jeanne Darnielle (D-Tacoma).

The savings lottery is still about a year away. It needs legislative approval, and then the credit unions and banks have go get together to see who wants in on the deal.