Welcome To Michigan's Oldest & Most Respected
Public Policy Research Organization

For 100 years, the objective of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan has been to provide factual, unbiased independent information on significant issues concerning state and local government organization and finance. CRC believes that the use of this information by policymakers will lead to sound, rational public policy in Michigan.

Citizens Research Council Centennial

Having been originally organized in 1916, 2016 marks 100 years of operation for the Citizens Research Council. We have events planned, a history of the organization is in the works, and associations and governments are sending congratulatory comments. Please help us celebrate this accomplishment throughout the year.

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Latest Publications

Counties in Michigan: An Exercise in Regional Government

Report 395, March 2017 Memorandum 1144, March 2017 Summary The current condition of Michigan’s local government finance model has created an opportunity to examine the local government service delivery model with a focus on counties and opportunities to deliver services more regionally at the county level. Such a change would free up local government resources to direct on the vital services that remain with the cities, villages, and townships. The first step is to build up the information tec...

The Prolonged Recovery of Michigan’s Taxable Values

Report 394, December 2016 Summary The financial plight of the Michigan state government during the first decade of this century (hereafter referred to as “Michigan’s single state recession”) has been well documented.  Reduced economic activity coupled with state policies resulted in reduced revenues and subsequently reductions in appropriations to a number of functions.  Since the end of the national recession that began in late 2007 (hereafter referred to as the “Great Recession”) t...

Southeast Michigan Ballot Issues: The Regional Transit Authority Millage Request

Memorandum 1143, October 2016 November Proposal On November 8, voters in Oakland, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Macomb Counties will vote on a proposal that would empower the recently created Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) to levy a new 1.2 mill tax (one mill is equal to a dollar of tax for every $1,000 of taxable value) that would generate $3.16 billion over the course of 20 years. Unlike past regional millage requests, this question does not rely on approval from each county in...

Blog: CRC Column


Public School Teacher Pay Relative to Personal Income in Michigan

While the average pay for teachers in Michigan has declined for several years, using a ratio of teacher pay relative to personal income to standardize across states shows that Michigan teachers are the highest paid in the nation in relative terms. Recent media reporting highlighted the fact that average teacher pay in Michigan declined for the fifth straight year in 2015-16. Despite this recent pullback, public school teachers are among the highest paid in the country according to the latest dat...

Want to improve city finances? Give counties more to do.

As Bridge identified with last week’s article on Michigan’s lost property values, the financial condition of many of Michigan’s local governments remains precarious as a result of the Great Recession. Compounding the problem are the structural problems inherent in Michigan’s local government finance system.  In a guest commentary last week, I suggested that the options available to local officials are limited: increase tax rates, cut services, or find new methods of delivering services ...

Taking a hammer, not a scalpel, to how Michigan cities are funded

The numbers highlighted in Bridge Magazine’s recent analysis of the breadth and depth of local governments’ tax base losses (and property tax collections) since 2008 ARE staggering. Bridge’s analysis is confirmed by a Citizens Research Council of Michigan report issued in December of 2016 that examined changes in local tax bases statewide.  Like Bridge, our analysis started by comparing today’s property tax base to the levels local governments taxed before the most recent recession. Sim...

HICA Hiccups: The Future of Medicaid Financing in Michigan

Last week, Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a package of bills—Senate Bills (SB) 987-990—that had aimed to once again restructure the state’s Medicaid financing system. In his veto letter to the Senate, Snyder said the bills placed federal funding for “critical state health programs” at risk if the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rejected these changes, leaving the “state budget out of balance.” Implicit in this veto is the assessment that the tax restructuring of thi...

  • Your knowledge and ability to distill the key issues in an easily understood manner is indeed impressive. As a long-time member of the Michigan School Business Officials, and current president, I look forward to your presentations and updates. They are thoughtful, balanced, and accurate. To say that you are a credible source on state finances is an understatement.

    Timothy Raymer
    Assistant Superintendent, Grandville Public Schools

  • The Citizens Research Council of Michigan -- the folks that bring you all those great non-partisan reports and data on Michigan government, laws, etc. are finally up and running on the web and it was worth the wait. This is a great site. Low-key graphics, great indexing, plenty of content including all their reports, research and memos...This is an invaluable tool...

    Debbie Gallagher, Government Information Specialist
    Michigan Electronic Library, University of Michigan

  • The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has been providing unbiased analysis of public issues since 1916. It is one of this state's indispensable institutions... The CRC's supporters recognize the need for impartial and nonpartisan analysis of local and state policy and fiscal issues... The value of the CRC over the years has been that it is private and independent of political party or ideology.

    The Detroit News

  • Dear CRC,
    Thank you for all the fine work you do. I'm a long time reader of you analyses and am a better citizen because of it.

    George Matthews
    Retired School Teacher

  • I have had a long relationship using the publications of the Citizens Research Council...you do a lot of good work here and we appreciate the support that keeps this operation so vital and relevant to the debates in Lansing, to Michigan's economic future, and to Michigan's future, period.

    Honorable John Engler
    Former Michigan Governor

  • The Citizens Research Council strives, without regard to political party or agenda, to frame educational issues in a balanced and thought-provoking context. Its consistent record of objectivity and thoroughness has made the CRC a high quality and immensely credible resource for policymakers at the state and local leadership levels. You can always count on CRC's findings to be solid and trustworthy.

    Mike Flanagan
    Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction

  • Fortunately, we have here in Michigan an admirable entity known as the Citizens Research Council. CRC often comes to the rescue in public policy disputes and has demonstrated an acute ability to separate fact from fiction.

    Glenn Gilbert
    Oakland Press

  • The non-aligned Citizens Research Council of Michigan is a group with no particular axes to grind that we can see. Their bare-bones, passionless and objective studies of Michigan's ballot proposals might prove very helpful to interested voters wanting to make the most informed possible choices.

    Muskegon Chronicle

  • Since 1916, the CRC has been an advocate of state and local "good government." The Research Council's studies of policy and administrative practice in Michigan win national prizes for excellence, and universal respect from the best of our state and local leaders.

    Michael Meagher
    Fowlerville News/Review

  • Nonpartisan, accurate, unbiased and credible research on key issues, from school vouchers to Internet sales tax to better ways to finance highway construction to ideas for eliminating the blight of abandoned, tax-reverted properties in Michigan's older cities.

    Mary Kramer
    Crain's Detroit Business

  • [Escanaba Schools Superintendent Tom] Smith respects the findings of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. "It's a pretty good group, well-respected, nonpartisan," he said. "Its opinions have been valued by both Democrats and Republicans as they formulate state policy"and by teachers and administrators alike."

    Daily Press, Escanaba