The media recognize that without a trusted, independent source of data and analysis, the flow of information about state and local government issues would be controlled by two sources — the governmental units themselves and interest groups. CRC is that trusted source. Here are the latest articles in which CRC is cited:

“The revenues aren’t growing fast enough to keep up with the spending demands in the budget,” says Craig Thiel, analyst with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

“This problem has been here, lurking behind the trees for two years. That the federal government isn’t extending the stimulus reveals it,” said Craig Thiel of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

According to the Citizens Research Council, the state’s reserves in cash in the general fund and school aid fund went from a $455 million surplus to a $432 million deficit under Granholm.

Jeff Guilfoyle, the terrific President of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, recently did a presentation to our Leadership Council on Michigan’s state and local tax system. I highly recommend taking a look at in detail. The presentation lays out today’s realities and the options for raising revenue. We asked Jeff for the later. CRC does not recommend any specific tax changes.

  • Ante up
    Detroit News, December 20, 2010

The special challenge for school districts and the various levels of government in the years ahead is $50 billion in mandates — pensions and retirement health care benefits — promised to public workers but as yet unfunded. The problem is growing bigger by the year, mostly because school districts and local governments aren’t putting away money to cover the inflationary costs of retiree health care, according to a recent report by Jeffrey Guilfoyle, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

There’s no shortage of solutions to Michigan’s predicament (see Business Leaders for Michigan, the Center for Michigan, Citizens Research Council of Michigan, Prima Civitas, among many). The shortage is in leadership, courage and action.

  • Gongwer News Service, December 14, 2010

Public employee compensation continues to be a hot topic of debate given the state’s fiscal crisis and Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said the state’s compensation for state and local government employees is generally higher than its neighboring states, but that is also true, to an extent, for its private sector compensation levels.

Speaking on challenges to public-sector efficiency, Jeffrey Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, told the audience that the costs of public retiree benefits were “huge,” with the $50 billion in unfunded pension and health commitments equivalent to $5,000 for every Michigan resident.

With that introduction, inquiring minds are diving into the Citizens Research Council report on The Fiscal Condition of the City of Detroit.

The students, from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at U-M, gathered data from 24 of the county’s 34 municipalities. Elisabeth Gerber of the Ford school said the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which is a private, nonprofit research organization working on the project, will collect information from the remaining municipalities.

While the fiscal 2011 budget, adopted in October, is technically balanced, it depends on nearly $1 billion in one-time resources, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

They also argued voters can and do amend the existing constitution. The current constitution has been amended more than 30 times, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

A more sober and state-specific assessment came recently from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. The CRC last month issued a report that looked at a broad range of research on charter schools.

He has only a short time to craft a budget proposal for the state. The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency says Michigan faces a $1 billion shortfall in the budget year that starts next Oct. 1. The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council puts the deficit even higher, at $1.5 billion.

They also argued voters can and do amend the existing constitution. The current constitution has been amended more than 30 times, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

They also argued voters can and do amend the existing constitution. The current constitution has been amended more than 30 times, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

He has only a short time to craft a budget proposal for the state. The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency says Michigan faces a $1 billion shortfall in the budget year that starts next Oct. 1. The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council puts the deficit even higher, at $1.5 billion.

For additional information about these proposals — information provided by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan which offers a factual, non-partisan approach

Craig Thiel talks about Proposal 2010-01

Craig Thiel is with Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan public policy research group. He says the state of Michigan has already made a lot of cuts: “The state workforce has shrunken considerably over the last 15 years. The state workforce as far as the share of the state budget has held at about 10%. so, 90% of state pending is actually not on state employees,” says Thiel. “Now there may be some duplication in programs, there may be some reductions, consolidations that could take place, but you’re not going to get $1.5 billion or $500 million in eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the state budget.”

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan prepared analyses of these issues and Eric Lupher, director of local affairs at CRC, presented its research through a webinar.

The current Constitution is the state´s fourth. The Citizens Research Council concluded, after an exhaustive look, that a rewrite could be helpful but not necessary.

Bettie Buss, Senior Research Associate, discusses the ballot proposals.

And next year will almost certainly be worse. State officials are already anticipating a budget deficit of $1 billion next year. The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council puts it at $1.5 billion.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan has posted a thorough examination of the issue on its Web site, www.crcmich.org.

The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency estimates the state will have a $1 billion shortfall for the budget year that begins next Oct. 1; the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council puts the deficit at $1.5 billion.

The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency estimates the state will have a $1 billion shortfall for the budget year that begins next Oct. 1; the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council puts the deficit at $1.5 billion.

Craig Thiel, director of state affairs for the Citizens Research Council, said state officials won’t have any choice but to dramatically scale back spending. He noted roughly four-fifths of the state’s $8.3 billion general fund this year is devoted to higher education, prisons, human services and community health.

The fiscal agency also says Michigan will face a $1 billion shortfall in the budget year that starts next Oct. 1. The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council puts the deficit even higher, at $1.5 billion. The hole would grow if the candidates cut taxes.

An excellent analysis of the proposal from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council suggests that some of the language in the amendment would inevitably invite challenge.

A new Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC) study found that charter school students in the state generally perform slightly better on standardized tests than those at traditional public schools in the same districts, but not as well as the state average.

“You can eliminate funding for entire departments and it won’t even approach a rounding error in the size of this problem,” said Craig Thiel, director of state affairs at the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

In the School Aid Fund, which supports K-12 schools and totals about $12.8 billion this year, Citizens Research estimates a $500 million problem. Cutting that amount of money could equate to about a $300 per-pupil reduction, Thiel said.

Villages, on the other hand, could disappear altogether and few would likely miss them (become a city or die). Rural townships might do just fine as unincorporated areas of their county, or they might benefit from merging. The possibilities are many in a state that has 1,858 units of local government — two-thirds of which have fewer than 2,500 residents, by the Citizens Research Council’s count.

Still, Michiganders seem to have a deep attachment to place, and even a constitutional convention might balk at significant change. But it could at least create the options.

Voters also seem to cherish the concept, as outlined in the Constitution, that they live under strong home rule for their municipalities. But, the Citizens Research Council says, that is increasingly an illusion. In reality, the state Legislature and the courts have steadily eroded the home rule provision. A convention debate on local government would have to start with the question of whether to resuscitate home rule or abolish it.

Michigan’s Citizens Research Council recently published a review of the charter school waterfront (charters are a key solution looked to by “Waiting for Superman”). The results were mixed. There are certainly good charter schools out there. But they are not a panacea, as most charters don’t outperform traditional public schools.

The current constitution has been amended 31 times in its 46 years, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Among the most recent changes agreed to by voters were loosening of restrictions on embryonic stem cell research in 2008, banning racial preferences in public university admissions and government hiring in 2006 and setting the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman in 2004.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has released the fifteenth paper in a series focusing on constitutional issues.

“Coming in right out of the gate, (the governor) will have to figure out what they want to do,” said Jeffrey Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan group that analyzes state budget issues. “It’s going to be very challenging.”

The program will look at the results of a Citizens Research Council of Michigan report on the issues the state is facing and at education’s funding mechanism set under Proposal A.

The current constitution has been amended 31 times in its 46 years, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Among the most recent changes agreed to by voters were loosening of restrictions on embryonic stem cell research in 2008, banning racial preferences in public university admissions and government hiring in 2006 and setting the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman in 2004.

And, as a Michigan Citizens Research Council analysis points out, the Michigan Judicial Institute, which provides guidance to judges, does not provide legal definitions for such terms as dishonesty, deceit or fraud as they apply to public office holding.

This budget addresses little of Michigan’s ongoing structural deficit, pegged by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan at just under $1 billion. That shortfall will exist year after year because the government’s need for money has outgrown the income it can expect, even in good times.

Case in point: The Michigan Legislature was not envisioned as a full-time body in the 1963 Constitution, according to an analysis by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Yet, over time, it has gradually crept into full-time session, with more tinkering — and wheel-spinning — than Michigan may need these days.

Michigan’s charter schools work well for some students in some situations but aren’t a silver bullet for boosting the state’s education standing, according to a report from a nonpartisan research group.

The Citizens Research Council report also said there are some excellent charter schools that work with a challenging population and can be one part of comprehensive efforts to boost achievement.

But the state has just about run out of one-time budget ploys and gimmicks. It’s already used about $8 billion worth of such maneuvers to patch up budgets in the face of declining revenues over the last decade, according to an analysis by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. That’s equivalent to nearly one year of state General Fund spending.

As the Michigan Citizens Research Council recently spelled out in a research paper on the city’s lack of financial health, about half of all households in the nation are still husband and wife families, but only about 23 percent of the households in Detroit fit that profile. While only 7.4 percent of homes in the nation as a whole can be described as female-headed with no husband present and with children under 18 in the household, more than 17 percent of Detroit households fit this category.

Charter schools’ MEAP scores are below the state average, but are higher than those of traditional schools in urban areas, according to a new report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

There is enough information to make some initial observations about charter schools, but the state needs to study the schools more before it can definitively judge their effects on public education, according to a report released Monday by the Citizens Research Council.

Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said that’s not an easy charge. He said that while Michigan’s budget has been struggling for a decade, many of the spending reductions the state has undertaken have hit targeted areas but not caused widespread pain.

The challenge now facing Michigan’s next governor and Legislature is that there’s some $1.6 billion in one-time resources, including federal stimulus funds and other measures, built into the state budget in fiscal 2011 that won’t be available in fiscal 2012, Guilfoyle said.

“The business community is struggling in this state; they’ve seen the same economic contraction. I think it’s understandable that they want to see a reduction in MBT,” he said.

But “the options to balance a $1.6 billion shortfall are not pleasant,” he said. “You’re either raising taxes by a meaningful amount, or you’re cutting programs by a meaningful amount, that people will notice. We’re going to see something that people don’t want to do.”

Of the 70 amendments that have been proposed since adoption of the Constitution, 30 have been approved. the Michigan Citizens Research Council notes.

Citizen Research Council report last year showed Michigan has 138 retirement systems covering about 450,000 employees. Many are more generous than those offered in the private sector, where pensions are fast disappearing in favor of 401(k) programs. Unlike the private sector, where company pension plans that encounter financial trouble may be restructured and payouts dramatically reduced, the state constitution forbids any reduction in government pensions.

School employees earning more than the rest of the taxpaying population is nothing new in Michigan. In 1996, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan reported that, in proportion to the per capita personal income of taxpayers that support their salaries and benefits, Michigan teachers had the highest pay in the nation.

Johnson’s advice to Snyder is to listen to what the Citizens Research Council of Michigan says about the state’s structural deficit, rather than rely on an approach developed by outside consultants, she said.

Speaking at a policy conference in Grand Rapids last week, Jeff Guilfoyle of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan said the coming budget will “have $1.6 billion in one-time resources built into it, including federal stimulus dollars,” Crain’s Detroit Business reported.

Guilfoyle added that “something has got to change … Some active policy change is going to need to be made to put the budget back in balance …”

Now, a recent study by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan shows that the state budget will be without $1.6 billion in 2012 that was from one-time sources of revenue that will help balance the budget in 2011. Jeffrey Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council, said $1.1 billion was federal dollars, mostly from the stimulus acts.

This doesn’t mean that the costs of public safety can’t be trimmed or shared. A survey by the Michigan Citizens Research Council noted that fire protection is already one of the most frequently shared municipal services. Can mutual aid pacts be extended on a more permanent basis? Can local governments create consortia for EMS services or set up a county EMS operation, as is done in some West Coast counties? From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100921/OPINION01/9210319/1008/Editorial–Budget-priorities#ixzz10AQ1qyVo

As for the state budget, Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said at a Thursday conference session that the fiscal 2011 state budget will likely have $1.6 billion in one-time resources built into it, including federal stimulus dollars, and “significant tax cuts are built into the pipeline as well.”

That means that as the state goes into fiscal 2012, “something has got to change,” he said.

Schools have not felt the full brunt of the state’s dwindling resource situation because policymakers have helped shield districts through one-time funding, but the school financing system under Proposal A has shown districts the best and worst of times over its 16-year existence, according to a report released Tuesday by the Citizens Research Council.

The idea of communities contracting for services has been researched by the Michigan Municipal League and the Citizens Research Council of Michigan as a useful method of slashing costs and a practice that has been going on for many years.

Back in 2005, a report by the Citizens Research Council and the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, labeled capital funding “the unfinished business of Proposal A.”

“Leaving responsibility for capital spending at the local level perpetuates wide variation in the quality of educational facilities provided for students in Michigan’s public school system,” said the report.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan says pressure will continue for the use of school aid funds toward filling holes in the state budget because a school aid surplus is projected again in 2011. Shifting money around in that way usually isn’t wise, but the education department’s late-July figures indicate that Republicans may have a case for that strategy in this one instance.

“When you track what’s happened to the state’s unionized work force in the private sector, it’s been largely turned on its ear” in terms of compensation in recent years, said Craig Thiel, an analyst with the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “The public sector has been trailing the private sector in that transformation. I’m not saying that’s good or bad, it’s simply the way it is.”

Even compared to the rest of the public sector, Thiel said, educators have been more insulated than most from cost-cutting. “You look at state employees, and they’ve been taking their lumps much more than school employees,” he said.

“Well, the will of the legislature to get the job done earlier could solve that,” says Craig Thiel. He’s with Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan public policy research group. He says the legislature has not gotten budget numbers to the school districts earlier because school funding is just one of the problems the legislators are facing in these tough financial times for the state.

“They’re pushing off to the very last minute the decisions about what to do about funding for all state programs: schools, prisons, environment, you name it,” Thiel said.

This staggering figure represents the difference between estimated costs of CDHPs growing 3.5 percent annually, an upper bound for such plans, and the upper limit of 9 percent annual increases projected for PPO premiums by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Continuing to trim state government’s overhead is the wiser approach. Analysis by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan has revealed that our structural deficit is uncomfortably close to $1 billion — meaning that even in prosperous times, government costs will exceed the revenue it can expect by that amount.

“The local governments have been hit kind of with both fists,” said Eric Lupher, director of local affairs for the Citizens Research Council. quot;A number of local governments are hurting, so they’re either going to look for new revenues or cut back on services or find new ways to provide services. quot;I don’t know if this is the beginning of a trend, but the people close to the property-tax issues tell us things are going to get worse before it gets better,quot; Lupher said.

Last week, the invaluable Citizens Research Council of Michigan analyzed the new school budget and how it came about. The council, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group, wrote, “The Michigan Legislature made major progress by adopting an annual SAF budget three months earlier than it did last year.”

However …

“Although the FY2011 budget restores some funding, it is ‘short’ in that it retains a sizeable per-pupil reduction, originally enacted as part of the FY2010 budget. Furthermore, the budget deal is ‘short’ in that the Legislature left unresolved major decisions concerning projected general fund budget shortfalls for the current and next years, which may or may not affect the School Aid Fund.”

CRC also noted this success was predicated not on a sudden burst of bipartisan comity, but a big change in the numbers.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan published a 2008 paper regarding the effects of consolidating local government services and found that such collaboration is often a successful cost-cutting measure. CRC, a nonprofit public affairs research organization, stated that when two or more local governments “collaborate to provide services common among them” this creates “economies of scale” while the additional cost “of providing services to additional residents is minimal and the benefit provided great.”

Restructuring is necessary for Detroit’s survival, said Bettie Buss, senior research analyst at the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council.

The report added that Michigan lawmakers generally have approved a new state budget before the start of its fiscal year on October 1, but in 2007, a late state budget led to what the Citizens Research Council called a “government shutdown.”

One Lenawee promotes community collaboration and action toward leveraging strengths and potential opportunities to enhance the future and to achieve sustainable economic growth, and Maxwell’s presentation focused on the governmental collaborative group. One Lenawee partners with Citizens Research Council of Michigan and the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. U-M Master of Public Policy students will be conducting surveys in the area this fall.

Setbacks for Michigan this spring included the failure of Congress to add six more months to a stimulus-related boost in the federal matching rate for Medicaid, a program whose costs are shared by states and the U.S. government. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan had warned against becoming dependent on that money, but Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s 2011 spending plan assumed it would bolster revenues by $560 million.

Pension benefits paid to state workers, local workers and teachers have exploded this decade, increasing more than $2 billion, according to figures in a 2009 Citizens Research Council report. That report warned, “While state and local pension benefits are protected by the Michigan Constitution, other postretirement benefits are not. If employer pension costs escalate due to investment losses, there will be pressure to reduce or eliminate unprotected retiree benefits such as health and dental insurance.”

Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council, said the cost of corrections is eating up larger portions of the state budget. He cited several factors – corrections employee wages that are 25% higher than the national average (13% more than neighboring states), and parole policies that keep prisoners incarcerated longer than those in other states.

The required benefit contribution for teachers offers savings exceeding $2 billion over a decade and seems warranted on at least two fronts: Legacy costs — pensions and retirement health coverage — eat up 16.5-percent of each school district’s annual budget, or $360 per pupil, and continue to rise steadily, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan noted earlier this year that the “chief problem associated” with counting on the FMAP money is that it postpones, until fiscal 2012, the crafting of structural solutions equal to the amount of the disappearing federal aid.

Eric Lupher, director of local affairs for the Citizens Research Council, said the One Lenawee study is the first time in Michigan that all the governmental units in a county are being studied with an eye to collaboration and streamlining.

An income tax looks like a last resort. Many cities have considered imposing one since state law permitted it in the mid-1960s, but only 22 have done so, the last 16 years ago, according to a report from Citizens Research Council.

The savings amount to roughly $300 million a year from the original 2 percent tax proposal that never took effect, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, so Bouchard is accurate to say it has saved “billions” over the past 15 years the tax has been assessed. But it’s only a tax cut to those involved in the sale of real estate.

Six Michigan communities have been placed in receivership and have emergency financial managers appointed, according to an April 2010 study done by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a public policy research group.

One of the best sources is the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, (crcmich.org) a solid, fact-based, unbiased source of information on Michigan state and local government. The CRC also has one of the best quotes on public participation that I’ve heard. It reads “The right to criticize government is also an obligation to know what you are talking about. .” Not a bad idea. Just showing up and running off at the mouth won’t do any of us any good.

But here’s a sobering statistic: Michigan’s wealth has been declining relative to the rest of the country since 1943, according to figures compiled by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council, said the cost of corrections is eating up larger portions of the state budget. He cited several factors — corrections employee wages that are 25% higher than the national average (13% more than neighboring states), and parole policies that keep prisoners incarcerated longer than those in other states.

“With few options available, they are backed up in a corner. We’ve raided most of the other pots of money that are available,” said Craig Thiel, director of state affairs for the Citizens Research Council, a Lansing-based public policy analysis group.

Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, highlighted the CRC’s report on “Michigan’s Economic, Revenue and Budget Outlook” at a town hall forum with Rep. John Walsh Tuesday at Schoolcraft College.

“We couldn’t have picked a worse time to change our underlying business tax,” said Craig Thiel, director of state affairs at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

“I think it goes a long way toward controlling employer costs,” says Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “This attempts to control some of the costs in the future but it attempts to shift some of the funding from the employer to the employee.”

He said Michigan teachers also were the highest paid in the country when factoring per-capita income from 1990 to 1996, citing a 1996 Citizens Research Council of Michigan report.

“Those bills wouldn’t change much from what we have now,” said Eric Lupher, director of state affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

“There will be no rapid recovery from an 18 percent employment decline. It will be well after 2023 before we fully recover all those lost jobs,” said Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

These facts are not new. The Citizens Research Council (crcmich.org) has been beating this drum for a decade.

“Michigan’s last decade has been disastrous economically,” said Citizens Research Councilpresident Jeff Guilfoyle, one of the experts featured during the Summit. “The state’s economic decline has created a very real disconnect between the current level of expenditures and current level of revenues and this will not self correct. We need to face this fact and adjust our government accordingly, or understand that our state and its citizens are going to continue to suffer.”

Craig Thiel, director of state affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said one major problem for funding state education is the balkanization in K-12, with some 770 separate school organizations across the state, counting charter schools.

“There will be no rapid recovery from an 18 percent employment decline. It will be well after 2023 before we fully recover all those lost jobs,” said Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said the state lost 18 percent of its jobs over the past decade, adding, “There is no rapid recovery from an 18 percent employment decline. It will be well after 2023 before we fully recover all those lost jobs.”

Funding of teachers’ pensions and health care coverage eats up 16.5 percent of today’s annual school budget, or $360 per pupil, according to the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

All the panelists – including Kat Owsley, director of One D; Mike Score, president of Hantz Farms; and Bettie Buss of the Citizens Research Council – conceded that all the problems are real.

Buss presented page after page of troubling statistics about the city.

Per capita income stands at $14,976, and a third of the residents live below the poverty line, unemployment is at nearly 28 percent, the “tax burden is huge,” and city officials have often overstated revenues and understated expenses in budgets, she said.

“They fill in the gap with a big wishful-thinking plug,” Buss said. While current city officials have plans to trim expenses, “There are a lot of us who think this is still nibbling around the edge of the problem.”

But a lot of private foundations and organizations are “taking the social safety net into their own hands,” Buss said. “There is great stuff happening.”

“While a simple bailout is greatly desired by many local officials, the state is unable or at least unwilling, and the federal government is so far unwilling, to provide this kind of aid,” the Citizens Research Council of Michigan says in a report titled “Financial Emergencies in Michigan Local Government.”

“At this time in our state, a challenge even greater than balancing local budgets with declining revenues and increasing spending pressures, is rebuilding an economic base devastated by the loss of manufacturing and the collapse of real estate values.”

This isn’t the only fund from which lawmakers have taken money over the years. About $12 million is regularly tapped from a transportation fund for economic development and another $5 million from a pot intended for public transit, said Craig Thiel, director of state affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. A jury reimbursement fund has been tapped for $2.6 million to pay for court operations, he said. And, of course, $140 million was moved from Promise scholarships last year and used to balance the budget.

Ruling-class elements openly call for the implementation of a plan to restructure the city. A report issued in April by the so-called “Citizens Research Council” states that if the mayor and city council are not willing to enact the proposed austerity plans, “an emergency financial manager should be appointed under the Local Government Fiscal Responsibility Act in order to negate the authority of the mayor and city council in order to implement changes and renegotiate contracts.” (“Fiscal Condition of the City of Detroit”) The Council is directed by representatives of the banks, multinational corporations and capitalist-oriented academics.

The report continues: “If an emergency financial manager recommends, and the state approves, reorganization and restructuring can occur under protection of bankruptcy, which does allow contracts to be abrogated.”

“Signatures dated more than 90 days before the petition is filed are invalid and are not counted,” according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Ruling-class elements openly call for the implementation of a plan to restructure the city. A report issued in April by the so-called “Citizens Research Council” states that if the mayor and city council are not willing to enact the proposed austerity plans, “an emergency financial manager should be appointed under the Local Government Fiscal Responsibility Act in order to negate the authority of the mayor and city council in order to implement changes and renegotiate contracts.” (“Fiscal Condition of the City of Detroit”) The Council is directed by representatives of the banks, multinational corporations and capitalist-oriented academics.

The report continues: “If an emergency financial manager recommends, and the state approves, reorganization and restructuring can occur under protection of bankruptcy, which does allow contracts to be abrogated.”

Without changes, that’s projected to climb steadily, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which notes that school spending pressures are growing at a 4.7 percent annual rate but tax revenues supporting schools are only growing at 3 percent.

Fifteen Michigan cities, counties, townships and villages were in serious financial distress at the start of last year, according to a new Citizens Research Council of Michigan report citing the most state treasury data available. One could surmise the number, since then, has gone up rather than down.

“Revenues are fixed by state law and the economy,” said Bettie Buss, senior research analyst at the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council who authored a recent report on the city’s financial situation. “It’s the expenditure side that is the challenge, because clearly what the city has been doing exceeds the resources that have been available and are likely to be available.”

Michigan’s best public policy resource, the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, has been warning for more than a decade that the state’s finances were out of whack and it wasn’t sustainable. We have a structural budget deficit, which means that even if the economy magically recovers tomorrow, our tax system still won’t bring in enough money to fund basic services like schools and police.

“The numbers are horrible,” said Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “The state has lost one in six jobs over the last 10 years … and that is showing up in tax revenue collections.”

In fact Dave Bing takes his play book right from the banks and multi-national corporations. Just read Detroit Crain’s, the recently released Citizen Research Council Report on Detroit and the statements made by the Kresge Foundation and anyone can conclude that his policy initiatives are those of the capitalist class who created the crisis.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan April 2010 report entitled “The Fiscal Condition of The City of Detroit” represents a blueprint from the ruling class on how to further the exploitation, impoverishment and dis-empowerment of the people in this area. This is not surprising when one reads who is on the board of directors and trustees of the Citizens Research Council.

A recent report entitled, ‘The Fiscal Condition of the City of Detroit’ by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan concluded that unless drastic measures are taken to address the burgeoning budget deficit, the city of Detroit could end up bankrupt or under state receivership.

“The recent report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan paints a very grim picture,” Bing said to council members yesterday. “However, the first option mentioned as a potential solution — that the elected mayor and City Council can implement required changes — is exactly what we must do. It’s the only way out without state intervention or ­bankruptcy.”

Bing said that of the options listed in a recent Citizens Research Council of Michigan report that laid out the city’s financial picture in stark terms, the option he favors is that the mayor and the council avoid a state takeover or municipal bankruptcy by working together to implement change.

A report released last week by the non-profit Citizens Research Council suggested past administrations “dummied up” budgets to avoid making real and necessary cuts.

A recent Citizens Research Council report claims the shortfall could even be as high as $425 million.

Bing is expect to present a budget to City Council today that includes plans to restructure city government, cut bureaucratic waste, bring revenue to the city and eliminate a $325-million deficit. A report from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan said that deficit could reach more than $440 million.

But the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit policy group, criticized him for including several revenue assumptions, such as the sale of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and other departments that never materialized. The sale of the tunnel has been a budget-balancing fixture for years.

Years of ignoring the city’s budget deficit, declining revenue and increasing expenses have put Detroit in danger of a state takeover or municipal bankruptcy – but filing Chapter 9 could have devastating consequences for the state, says a researcher at the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

The nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan last week released a report suggesting bankruptcy remains a real option for Detroit if elected officials are unable to restructure city government and dramatically reduce spending.

According to a 60-page report released last week by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, Detroit could face an estimated $750 million accumulated deficit by the end of 2012 if drastic measures are not taken to restructure city government and truly balance the budget.

Jeff Guilfoyle, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said the proposal will be interesting to watch. Citizens Research is publishing a series of papers on the issue. “The constitutional question is a big question for the state. It’s asking voters if they want to rewrite the most important document in terms of the organization of government in the state of Michigan,” Guilfoyle said.

Years of ignoring the city’s budget deficit, declining revenue and increasing expenses have put Detroit in danger of a state takeover or municipal bankruptcy — but filing Chapter 9 could have devastating consequences for the state, says a researcher at the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

The week began with the release of yet another report stating the obvious, Detroit is in economic trouble. The report, issued by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, continues the orchestrated effort to heighten the crisis mentality in our city and rush us toward quick, ill-considered actions.

“Certainly the federal government can step in with jobs corps programs and deficit spending to help create jobs,” said Eric Lupher of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, “but local governments are experiencing as much pain as the teens that don’t have a job. (The governments) just don’t have the resources to do anything in Michigan right now.”

A corporate-controlled group, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, has released a study demanding the city of Detroit enact sweeping cuts to social services and the jobs, wages, and benefits of municipal employees. These measures may have to be implemented, the report argues, through an emergency financial situation such as bankruptcy.

As if to punctuate the man’s arguments, the city controller of Los Angeles this week said it might go broke in a month; the mayor called for nonessential services to be shut down for two days a week. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan, an independent research organization, released a report on Detroit, and said it might be helpful if the city reorganized under bankruptcy protection.

A new report out the other day makes this deal appear even dumber than before! It could have meant severe financial problems for this City at a time when we are having enough problems with the economy. It brings into question the financial acumen of our Mayor in a very stark fashion.

When Detroit Mayor Dave Bing makes his budget presentation to the City Council next week, he’ll have plenty of ammunition, thanks to a report issued this week by the respected Michigan Citizens Research Council. The report underscores the city’s need to retrench and restructure in the face of its dire economic and fiscal condition.

As Detroit Mayor Dave Bing prepares to present his budget to the City Council later this month, he’d be wise to avoid the mistakes of past administrations, according to Bettie Buss, senior research associate with the Citizens Research Council.

Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council must reduce the size of government and slash the city’s budget deficit to stave off bankruptcy or state receivership, according to a report released Monday by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

“Detroit city government must be restructured,” said the report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a non-profit that has studied Detroit finances for decades. “The new structure must reflect both the reduced tax base and the limited ability of state government to provide shared revenues.”

Facing continued population loss, poverty and disinvestment as a result of the “Great Recession,” the City of Detroit cannot continue to operate at its present size, according to a new report prepared by the nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Sometimes numbers tell a story. But others tell you just how harrowing a story might be.

Count a report on the city of Detroit released Monday by the politically agnostic Citizens Research Council among the latter.

The 62-page report, “The Fiscal Condition of the City of Detroit” was released Monday by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit public affairs research organization. It was commissioned by Business Leaders for Michigan, which paid part of the cost.

“Detroit city government must be restructured,” according to the report from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit that has studied Detroit finances for decades. “The new structure must reflect both the reduced tax base and the limited ability of state government to provide shared revenues.”

Detroit’s city government must shrink dramatically due to the impacts of the so-called 2007 Great Recession, ongoing and multiplying deficit spending and the use of suspect revenue streams to balance its budget, according to a Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan report released today.

Detroit’s fiscal situation does not look to improve to any significant degree in the next several years, with annual deficits approaching $260 million a year and the potential for a cumulative deficit of nearly $466 million, a report released Monday by the Citizens Research Council said, as the current ongoing recession has exacerbated some of the dynamics that continue to cripple the city financially.

Yet another report on Detroit’s future – this time, from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which describes itself as a nonpartisan public policy research group. Essentially, the report suggests that Detroit’s government must be sharply downsized, a process Mayor Dave Bing has already started. The report also points to one city asset that could be monetized: Detroit’s water and sewerage system. Selling part or all of Detroit’s stake in that system wouldn’t resolve the city’s financial woes, but would generate revenue. It would also likely mean higher water and sewerage rates, the report’s authors predict.

At some point the skeptics (AFSCME, are you listening?) will get the message that Detroit’s books really as as bad as Mayor Dave Bing says. The latest downer comes today from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, the non-partisan researcher, in a report simply titled, “The Fiscal Condition of the City of Detroit.”

A new dire report on the city’s troubled finances calls on Mayor Bing and the City Council to have the political will to drastically restructure government and reduce the deficit before the city falls into bankruptcy or state receivership.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit public policy research group, authored “The Fiscal Condition of the City of Detroit.” The report was ordered at the behest and with some grant funds from the Business Leaders for Michigan.

The budget deficit for the School Aid Fund is estimated at $410 million for the next fiscal year. A recent report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan points out, that “the major state tax revenue source for the School Aid Fund, the sales tax, does not apply to a large and growing segment of consumption activity in the state, thus failing to respond equally to overall economic growth.” Expanding the base sales tax to include many consumer services, at a rate of 5.5 percent, must be given serious consideration by the Legislature.

Local resolutions are a way for governments to make it clear to legislators this is an important issue, said Eric Lupher, director of local affairs with the Citizens Research Council. The council helped compile information about several other states with rules limiting unfunded mandates.

“We’re in the process of creating a new normal,” said Eric Lupher, director of local affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit public affairs research organization. “Local governments are just having to go through this process of saying, ‘What can we afford to do now?'”

In addition to help from various government associations, such as the Michigan Association of Counties, the commission’s research was assisted by the Citizens Research Council and Michigan State University.

Craig Thiel, director of state affairs for the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, said that resolving a more than $1 billion General Fund deficit will mean cuts to the “big four” — higher education, Corrections, revenue sharing to local governments and Medicaid.

“You really can’t escape the reality of targeting those areas,” Thiel said. “What specifically happens to program X or program Y, it’s hard to say at this point.”

The need for public pension reforms is pointed up in a report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which last year said the state’s prolonged period of economic stress is ratcheting up the pressure to limit future liabilities in union-negotiated traditional pension plans still enjoyed by most public-sector workers.

The Citizens Research Council cited U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics showing that 84 percent of state and local government workers still have traditional pensions. That’s now true for only 22 percent of private workers. In the private sector, 62 percent of workers are covered under far less costly defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s that are funded by withholding money from workers’ paychecks and, in some cases, by getting matching money or stock from employer contributions.

Glaring statistics in the Citizens Research Council report illustrate the way mushrooming long-term pension liabilities are coming back to haunt politicians who often have swapped them with unions for salary or hourly pay concessions.

Delabbio also gave commissioners a report produced by the Citizens Research Council of Michiganon intergovernmental cooperation in the county. The report concluded that the county and six core cities “have been very progressive in developing regional strategies for meeting the service demands of their residents. Intergovernmental collaboration has been used extensively long before the current economic struggles plaguing Michigan led local governments throughout Michigan to re-examine this tool.”

The Michigan Citizens Research Council has cited Kent County as a model for such cooperative ventures, noting in a recent report 150 intergovernmental cooperative initiatives in our county.

The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan isn’t telling Gov. Jennifer Granholm anything she doesn’t already know.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s 2011 state budget is déjÀ vu: more one-time fixes, along with a few measures to deal with state government’s ongoing structural deficit. That’s the verdict from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

The well-respected and non-partisan Citizens Research Council has issued a report entitled “The FY 2011 Budget: Déjà vu All Over Again.” The report reviews the Governor’s 2011 budget recommendations and points out the imbalance between funding needs and revenues.

Governor Jennifer Granholm has once again proposed a budget that does not address the state’s structural deficit, the Citizens Research Council said in a review released Friday.

The report, The FY 2011 Budget: Deja Vu All Over Again, said the state has done little over the last decade to address the structural imbalance between funding needs and revenue.

In an analysis released last week, the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan said that while some of Granholm’s proposals “grapple with aspects” of a structural deficit problem, other solutions “are instead aimed at short-term balance.”

But it’s also not realistic to expect one year’s budget to eliminate a problem that’s existed for more than a decade, said Craig Thiel, the council’s director of state affairs.

Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan today offered up an analysis of Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM’s FY 2011 budget recommendation and dubbed the report “Déjà vu All Over Again.”

“The FY2011 budget presents yet another opportunity for the state’s elected officials to begin the process of correcting the near-decade long problem,” reads the report. “The Governor’s fiscal plan for FY2011 contains elements that address the causes of the problem on both the spending and revenue side.”

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan released a second paper today detailing Michigan’s constitutional history.

Among the more interesting notes of the piece was the fact that prior to the 1963 Constitution, a majority of all voters voting had to approve the question about whether or not to hold a constitutional convention. Currently, a majority of all voters voting on the question prevail.

By May of 2008, the warning about our structural imbalance was sent out again by the Citizens Research Council and the W.E. Upjohn Institute, offering the same solutions that we heard back then, the same solutions we are hearing again today.

When the sales tax was first implemented in 1933, it generated $31.4 million in fiscal year 1934, or approximately $483 million in 2008 dollars. (quoting CRC’s Outline of the Michigan Tax System)

But it also urged a comprehensive review of school funding in line with a coming report from the Citizens Research Council.

Craig Thiel, a researcher for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said that occasionally data is released prematurely in these kind of studies, although the data can be subject to change.

“I’d be surprised if there’s cases where it’s changed such that the conclusion’s null and void,” he said.

It’s that time again. Every 16 years,the voters in Michigan must vote to decide on convening a constitutional convention for the purpose of revising our state constitution.It failed overwhelmingly in 1978 and 1994. Here is some reading to get you up to speed.

The Citizens Research Council is releasing, over the coming weeks, a series of papers outlining the issues voters will face in deciding whether to call a constitutional convention.

Education funding has failed to keep pace with inflation in Michigan for the past several years, according to the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

A recent report from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council found 150 joint ventures among the cities and the county.

Across the tri-county area, residential values have dropped an average of 28% since values peaked in 2007, municipal finance expert Eric Lupher said at the nonprofit Citizens Research Council in Livonia. The decline is causing a roughly equivalent drop in property-tax revenues for communities and counties, Lupher said.

In a statement issued Friday, the Manistee City Council Operational Service Assessment Committee announced it had hired the Citizens Research Council of Michigan to complete an operational service assessment for the city at a cost of $10,000.

State government faces an estimated $1.6 billion budget problem for 2011and has built-in costs that exceed its expected income — a structural deficit — by almost $1 billion even in good years, the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan says.

In fact, when the Citizens Research Council recently tallied up all the joint-venture initiatives involving one or more of these six partners, Kent County, or the GRPS they found over 150 separate ventures. 150!! ranging from recreation to emergency services. The results of this study are reported in “Streamlining Functions and Services of Kent County and Metropolitan Grand Rapids Cities.” This report is on the City website for your viewing.

But it’s unclear how much cost savings the state will achieve, said Craig Thiel, director of state affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. After the last major round of early retirement packages offered in 2001, he said, the state ended up rehiring more employees than it anticipated, reducing the cost savings.

Annual corrections salaries in Michigan are significantly higher than those in seven neighboring states, according to Census Bureau data first reported studied by the Citizens Research Council …

WHEREAS, the LCSM worked with the Citizens Research Council (issued an analysis of other state’s statutes and constitutional requirements similar to the Headlee Amendment) and local units of government associations…

The MML is ri9ght in that the number of cases of arbitration are going down, and that’s because all municipal bargaining units have sacrificed and made concessions to help balance the budget. The non-partisan Citizens Research Council says an average of only about 33 cases a year go to arbitration – about 8 percent of fire and police debarments, and of those cases, the municipalities are successful 71 percent of the time.

According to the Citizens Research Council, Michigan employment is down 20% from the year 2000 peak.

Michigan’s public employee wages and benefits were among the top in the nation — but there were fewer employees compared to other states, according to a 2007 study from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Craig Thiel, the council’s director for state affairs, said state employees were the sixth highest-paid in the nation in terms of base salary and had the third-best benefit packages.

But Michigan ranked 45th in employees per 10,000 residents, with half as many as states atop the ranking.

“That’s something you have to take into consideration,” he said. “We’re getting the same level of services as Illinois, Ohio and Indiana, but they have more employees to provide those services.”

Non-partisan groups like the Citizens Research Council and the Center for Michigan have had reform plans laid out for several years, and now they are joined by another organization that recognizes the imperative for change in our state.

Michigan’s 552 local school districts are smaller than states with populations above 10 million, but are slightly higher than the surrounding Great Lakes states, according to a new report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

“Viewed in relation to other states, Michigan’s state and local public sector is not very large,” reports the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council. “In 2006, Michigan ranked 45th among the states with 482 total state and local full-time employees per 10,000 residents, below the U.S. average of 539.2.”

Michigan typically spends more than $12 billion a year on public schools. But tax revenues going into the state’s school aid fund have failed to keep up with inflation since 2000, according to the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. A decline in state sales tax collections is a major problem for schools.

I made sure that when I used estimates for the future, I cited the source of my information, such as the Senate Fiscal Agency for per pupil revenue estimate and the Citizens Research Council for future retirement rate estimates. This lends credibility to the numbers I am presenting which in turn gives me credibility and assures my audience that I have done my research.

Imagine if Michigan had had a two-year or three-year budget policy in place back in 2001, when it had amassed more than $3.9 billion in major fund cash reserves, according to the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Michigan typically spends more than $12 billion a year on public schools. But tax revenues going into the state’s school aid fund have failed to keep up with inflation since 2000, according to the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. A decline in state sales tax collections is a major problem for schools.

Among the guests discussing school finance will be Michael Van Beek, education policy director for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which publishes Michigan Education Digest. Other panelists include Jeffrey Guilfoyle of the Citizens Research Council, Michigan State University economics professor Charles Ballard, and economist Timothy Bartik of the W.E. Upjohn Institute, The Press reported.

The board expects to hear from a series of folks the state Education Department believes represent a philosophical cross section, including Jeffrey Guilfoyle of the Citizens Research Council, Michigan State University economics professor Charles Ballard, economist Timothy Bartik of the W.E. Upjohn Institute and Michael Van Beek, education policy director for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Unfortunately, the State of Michigan has flaunted each of these foundations, according to an otherwise dry report issued by the Citizens Research Council: Reforming the Process for Identifying and Funding Section 29 Mandates on Local Governments.

The report shows that the drafters of the Headlee Amendment, approved by Michigan voters in 1978, predicted that the state might try to push expenditures down to local governments as a result of state revenue limitations enacted by the amendment. This is why Section 29 of the amendment required that any mandates handed down to local governments be paid for the by the state.