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

Update on State Support of Nonpublic School Students

CRC Note 2016-02, October 2016 This report is a follow up to State Support of Nonpublic School Students, Memorandum 1126, January 2014 In January 2014, the Citizens Research Council reported on Michigan’s “shared time” arrangement that allows state school aid funds to be paid to public school districts (traditional and charter) that enroll nonpublic school students.  While the number of “shared time” students statewide remains relatively small (about 11,300 students) compared to Michi...

Expanding Nursing Scope of Practice to Address Michigan’s Healthcare Costs and Physician Shortages

Memorandum 1142, September 2016 In Brief Patient health outcomes, patient experiences, and costs each are threatened by trends in Michigan’s healthcare services. Chronic health concerns coupled with expanded Medicaid and health insurance coverage and an aging population have created a higher demand for physicians, particularly primary care physicians. Healthcare costs are growing faster than the economy as a whole, making quality healthcare less affordable for individuals, businesses, and gove...

Public School Enrollment Trends in Detroit

Memo 1141, June 2016 In Brief Over the most recent 25-year period since 1990, Detroit’s population dropped 34 percent, but Detroit Public School’s (DPS’s) enrollment fell 73 percent.  Over the same period, state policymakers enacted new laws that made it easier for students to move to a neighboring school district (inter-district choice), but also created a new type of public school (charter schools) to compete for students. The Detroit education market continues to shrink on the whole an...

Catalog of Early Childhood Funding in Michigan

May 2016 | Report 393   Introduction For more than two decades, scientific research has increasingly revealed the critical importance of the first years of a child’s life on cognitive, emotional, and physical development.  This scientific evidence has also been a focus in discussions regarding appropriate public policy related to very young children, particularly those from vulnerable households.  As a result, there has been an expansion at both the federal and state levels in funding o...

Blog: CRC Column

What is a private purpose appropriation?

Among other important roles, a constitution establishes the branches of government, grants them powers, and places restrictions on them.  Many restrictions are often rooted in past experiences, some from which negative results ensued.  Certain provisions of the Michigan Constitution, like many other constitutions, are sufficiently ambiguous so as to invite interpretation.  Such is the case with a provision that controls state appropriations for private purposes. The 1963 Michigan Constitution...

Citizens Research Council’s Ex-Research Director wins GRA’s Gruenberg Award for Contributions to Governmental Research

  Citizens Research Council’s Ex-Research Director wins GRA’s Gruenberg Award for Contributions to Governmental Research Former Citizens Research Council of Michigan Research Director Jim Williams was recognized by his peers for excellence in governmental research and contributions to the field at the 2016 Governmental Research Association (GRA) conference in Pittsburgh, PA on July 26. A native of Texas, Jim came to Michigan to earn a Masters of Political Science from the Univer...

  • August 3, 2016

Better Facts Leads to Better Decision Making

June’s Brexit vote was a stark example of the need for a process of educating voters as part of the initiative process. In Great Britain, sufficient numbers of electors signed a petition to place the question of leaving the European Union on the ballot. A majority of those voting on the question opted to leave the European Union. The immediate effect was turmoil in the worldwide economy and changes in the leadership of Great Britain. History will judge the long-term consequences of this vote. ...



Over CRC’s 100 year history, it has made an outsized impact for such a small organization.  This is the eighth in a series of blog posts highlighting CRC’s top projects and reports since its inception in 1916. The development of a network of limited access highways in the Detroit area during the 1950s and 1960s facilitated a spread of population throughout the region.  Regional concepts, similar to those propounded by the Citizens Research Council beginning four decades earlier, began to...

  • 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