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

Reforming Statutory State Revenue Sharing

Reforming Statutory State Revenue Sharing Report 387, February 2015 Summary The State of Michigan runs a program that is somewhat unique — distributing a portion of state-collected tax revenues to local governments for their unrestricted use. The restricted revenue sharing programs operated in Michigan — sending state-collected funds to local governments to fund programs such as education, highway construction and maintenance, court funding, liquor enforcement, and mental health care...

Managing School District Finances in an Era of Declining Enrollment

Managing School District Finances in an Era of Declining Enrollment Memo 1131, January 2015 Today, more than anything, officials charged with managing the governance and finances of Michigan school districts need the tools to manage the districts through an era of declining student enrollment. Many district officials have recognized the problems caused by declining enrollment and have attempted to proactively adjust to the circumstances, but the economics of school finance suggest that state pol...

Policy Options to Support Children from Birth to Age Three

Policy Options to Support Children from Birth to Age Three  Joint Report with Public Sector Consultants, October 2014   This report would not have been possible without the generous support of the Center for Michigan, the Alliance for Early Success, the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the Lagina Family Foundation, the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Phillip Wm. Fisher, the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Executive Summary OVERVIEW E...

Making Sense of K-12 Funding

Making Sense of K-12 Funding Memorandum 1130, October 2014 The current political debate seems fixated, at times, on the issue of state funding for public K-12 schools. Specifically, claims and counterclaims have been leveled about whether state funding has increased or decreased in recent years. Although disputes over public education finances are nothing new, recent changes in the way the state allocates funds to local school districts has created confusion and has fueled the present debate. Th...

Blog: CRC Column

Why we have to vote on Proposal 2015-1

This piece appeared on The Next Idea on Michigan Radio and in the Detroit Free Press As we near the vote to raise the sales tax to fund our abysmal roads, we’ve heard this question come up quite a bit these last few months: “Why couldn’t the legislature just do the job they were elected to do instead of passing responsibility off to the voters?” The short answer — and you’re not going to like this — is that it is not their fault. It’s ours. We haven’t given our legislat...

State Needs Policy Before Helping DPS with its Debts

NOTE:  This letter ran in the Commentary Section of the Detroit Free Press on April 22, 2015, following Governor Snyder’s announced plan for public education in the City of Detroit. In late March, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit’s Schoolchildren issued its long-awaited report concerning public education in the city.  The report focuses on all public schools in the city; not just Detroit Public Schools (DPS) but also charter schools and schools operated by the Educational Achie...

Eroding Tax Bases in Wayne County

A recent press conference held by Wayne County Executive, Warren Evans, has confirmed the dismal outlook for the county’s financial situation and cites a $70 million budget deficit. What is more, Evan’s administration anticipates that the county will run out of cash by May 2016 without any kind of intervention. While discussions to identify contributing factors cannot omit exploring criticisms of financial management and other administrative shortcomings, these alone cannot account for the f...

Another Wrinkle in the State’s Plan to Dissolve the Buena Vista School District

Since the summer of 2013, CRC has been following the implementation of Michigan’s new school district dissolution policy.  On November 4, voters in the dissolved Buena Vista School District rejected the renewal of a tax dedicated to pay off the district’s accumulated deficit.  Failure to get voter authorization to levy the tax raises the question of who will pay to eliminate the district’s deficit.  Also, this vote reveals some of the unintended consequences inherent in the district dis...

  • 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