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

Education Reform: Teacher Performance Management Systems

Education Reform: Teacher Performance Management Systems Report 377, March 2012 The second in a miniseries on teachers and teaching, Education Reform: Teacher Performance Management Systems confirms the importance of good teaching and the challenges associated with systems that have been used to, and will in the future, measure the quality of teachers. Historically, teacher evaluations found nearly all teachers to be satisfactory or better, even in districts with very low student performance. Pa...

Options for Managing Medicaid Funding and Cost Growth

Options for Managing Medicaid Funding and Cost Growth Report 376, February 2012 Nearly 1 in every 5 Michigan residents is currently enrolled in Medicaid – a state operated medical insurance program for low income individuals and families that is co-financed by the state and federal governments. Because of the state’s nearly decade long recession beginning in Fiscal Year 2002, demand for this program increased, growing enrollment nearly 60 percent. In the current fiscal year, over 15 percent ...

Stabilized State Budget and Rainy Day Fund Deposits Improve State’s Cash Position

Stabilized State Budget and Rainy Day Fund Deposits Improve State’s Cash Position State Budget Note 2012-01, February 2012 While the State of Michigan’s final audited figures for Fiscal Year 2011 are not complete, recent evidence suggests that state policymakers have reversed course over the past five years and have taken steps to address the state’s once very weak cash position. The report documents the recent improvements in the state’s cash position, and urges lawmakers to continue to...

2009 Tax Revenue Comparison: Michigan and the U.S. Average

2009 Tax Revenue Comparison: Michigan and the U.S. Average Memo 1111 ( February 2012 ) 18 pages The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has released its analysis of recently released U.S. Census Bureau state and local government finance data. The Census data allow for easy comparisons of tax burdens across the 50 states. This publication provides historical and interstate comparisons of tax revenues.

Blog: CRC Column

Improving the Efficiency of PA 51, a Long Over-Due Reform

In his recent special message delivered to Michigan citizens and the Michigan Legislature, Governor Snyder calls for changes to Public Act 51 of 1951 (commonly referred to as PA 51), the law that governs the distribution of nearly $900 million in annual state transportation tax receipts among local road agencies.  The Governor recommends a number of changes that are aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the transportation revenue distribution system.  One suggestion involves ...

Is the Homestead Exemption going to disappear?

Question: Dear CRC, My father is afraid he will need to move as he heard that the homestead exemption may disappear. From your document on Gov. Snyder’s proposed changes it appeared there may be a decrease in the exemption for seniors. Is that the case and if so, what may that look like? We reside in Northern Michigan and my father pays $7,000/year in property taxes with 100 percent homestead. If he had to pay more, they may need to move. Thank you for any guidance that you can provide. Re...

Large Urban Districts Challenged Under Proposal A

Much attention has been paid to Michigan’s economic problems over the last decade and, by extension, the direct effects on the state budget.  Local school district finances have not been immune from the state’s financial challenges because a significant portion of their operating budgets originate with state-level taxes, an arrangement created by the 1994 passage of Proposal A.  While many districts have had to cope with funding challenges in recent years, the Proposal A school funding mod...

Michigan School Spending Is More Equal, But Gaps Remain

As highlighted in CRC’s recent report, Distribution of State Aid to Michigan Schools, the school finance reforms of the mid-1990s achieved a number of their intended initial goals.  At the top of this list is progress towards greater per-pupil operating funding equality.  Despite this progress, absolute equity has not been achieved.  Furthermore, the near-singular pursuit of funding equity has meant that financial resources have not been used to address other important educational objective...

  • 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