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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NEW Job Posting - State Policy Expert

THIS POSITION HAS BEEN REPOSTED ALLOWING FOR LESS EXPERIENCED APPLICANTS: The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is seeking a research associate to join our team in performing nonpartisan, independent analysis of state and local public policy in Michigan. The person applying for this position should have an interest in state finances and the state budget process, an ability to analyze state taxes and programs, possess strong speaking skills, and be able to respond to inquiries from media members and others.

Job Posting

Latest Publications

Survey of Economic Development Programs in Michigan

Survey of Economic Development Programs in Michigan Third Edition Report 392, February 2016 Introduction While state and federal agencies offer ample information on economic development programs in Michigan, the absence of a central repository of major programs prompted the Citizens Research Council to attempt such a compendium in 2001. CRC’s Survey of Economic Development Programs in Michigan, (CRC Report No. 334, May 2001), categorized and described over 40 federal and state economic develop...

Detroit Public Schools’ Legacy Costs and Indebtedness

Detroit Public Schools’ Legacy Costs and Indebtedness Memo 1138, January 2016 The Detroit Public Schools (DPS) recently submitted its audited financial statement for fiscal year 2014-15 (FY2015) to the State of Michigan. Because of recent changes to accounting and financial reporting standards, the report provides a much richer picture of the district’s overall financial condition than previous reports. In addition to the liabilities associated with various debt instruments that routinely ap...

Earmarking State Tax Revenues: Tying Policymakers’ Hands or Protecting Policy Priorities?

Earmarking State Tax Revenues: Tying Policymakers’ Hands or Protecting Policy Priorities? Memorandum #1137, September 2015 Michigan is among a few states that rely heavily on the practice of dedicating, or “earmarking”, state tax revenue to specific purposes. While this practice safeguards funding for select public services from changing political climates, earmarking encumbers the ability of state lawmakers to carry out the task most essential to their job responsibilities. A substantial ...

The Michigan Budget: Back on the Roads Again

The Michigan Budget: Back on the Roads Again State Budget Note 2015-01, September 2015 The Michigan Legislature wrapped up work on the state’s $54.5 billion budget for Fiscal Year (FY)2016 back in June, but the budget was enacted without accomplishing a key goal that continues to elude both the Governor and Legislature: finding a permanent funding solution to address the state’s deteriorating road infrastructure. In May, voters resoundingly rejected Proposal 1, which would have triggered inc...

Blog: CRC Column


CRC’s “Top Ten” in Honor of 100 Years of Policy Research

Over CRC’s 100 year history, it has made an outsized impact for such a small organization. This is the first in a series of blog posts highlighting CRC’s top projects and reports since its inception in 1916. This April marks 100 years of operation for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. In 1916, we were known as the Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, had offices in the Buhl building in Detroit, and were led by governmental research titan Lent D. Upson. In 1951, the Detroit Burea...

  • April 1, 2016

Withholding Information from Citizens Will Hurt Government

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is committed to the simple belief that better information leads to better government.  Unfortunately, a new state law will limit the amount and type of information about local ballot questions that government officials can share with voters.  Limiting the information available to those asked to weigh in on important public policy matters will not improve government. The Citizens Research of Council of Michigan (CRC) is celebrating its centennial in 201...

Reforming Michigan’s Initiative Petition Circulation Processes

NOTE:  This blog post appeared in the Detroit News on November 17, 2015.   Reforming Michigan’s Initiative Petition Circulation Processes We are about one year away from the 2016 general election and efforts are in full swing to qualify initiated statutes and constitutional amendments for that statewide ballot. Already we’re seeing evidence with those efforts of the dysfunction that we’ve come to associate with the law/amendment drafting, petition circulation process, and voter infor...

Three Things You Should Know about the New Road Plan

With a series of votes late last night, the Michigan House finally broke the trend of recent near-misses as the Legislature succeeded in passing a comprehensive road funding package.  The bills now move to Governor Snyder’s desk, where he is expected to sign them into law.  The legislation will eventually generate $1.2 billion in additional annual revenue earmarked for road maintenance and repair.  That revenue comes from three primary sources: (1) increased motor fuel taxes – the...

  • 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