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CRC Column

The right to criticize government is also an obligation to know what you are talking about. 
-Lent Upson, 1st Executive Director of CRC  

The media recognize that without a trusted, independent source of data and analysis, the flow of information about state and local government issues would be controlled by two sources -- the governmental units themselves and interest groups. CRC is that trusted source. Here are the latest articles in which CRC is cited:



December 2014

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CRC has not been immune from the effects of the economic problems plaguing Michigan and the U.S. But it is exactly at times such as these that the work of CRC is most vital and that we most need your support.

If you agree that an independent source of unbiased, nonpartisan information and analysis is critical to the public debate; if you agree that if there were no CRC, we would have to create one, join with the others who support us and contribute generously today.

  • Michigan road money talks remain stalled
    Detroit News, December 15, 2014
  • The state School Aid Fund would lose $661 million by 2020 and $889 million in revenue from the sales tax on fuel by 2023 under the Bolger plan, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan based on House Fiscal Agency projections.

    State revenues available for sharing with cities, villages and townships would drop $88 million by 2020 and $121 million by 2023 under the Bolger plan, according to the same analysis.

  • Counties differ in how they pay board members
    The Port Huron Times Herald, December 6, 2014
  • Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council, said he doesn't see a benefit to guidelines for county board compensation.

    The Citizens Research Council is a 98-year-old nonprofit organization that studies state and local government.

    "The underlying message is we have very different levels of sophistication in our government," Lupher said. "I don't know what would be gained by guidelines — the question of compensating public officials is a question each community needs to answer on its own. ... The county government in Michigan is the invisible form of government.

    "County government was created to be the administrative arms of the state."

November 2014

  • Tax-foreclosure crisis looming as lawmakers set to act
    Detroit Free Press, November 30, 2014
  • The crisis is "unprecedented in our lifetimes, to have so many properties going through foreclosure in Wayne County and all over Michigan, but we just have to find the right mix of responses," said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit think tank in Livonia.

    But assistance shouldn't go to property owners who could have paid if they hadn't failed to budget, squandered money on casino trips or steadfastly refused to pay as an investment gambit, Lupher said.

  • CRC discusses expanding services to at-risk children
    Current State - WKAR, November 20, 2014
  • CRC's Bob Schneider highlights the new joint report Policy Options to Support Children From Birth to Age Three

  • Michigan counties counting on millages to fix poor roads
    Stateside on Michigan Radio, November 12, 2014
  • That old adage seems to be behind the appearance of dedicated road millages on a number of ballots last week around the state. Eric Lupher is president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

  • Pension Debt Crowds Out Other School Spending in Michigan
    Teacher Pensions Blog, November 10,2014
  • The Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC) released a brief documenting changes in the state's education funding over the past five years. The CRC found that state funding for K-12 education has increased by over $1 billion from fiscal years 2011 to 2015. Rather than going toward district resources, like curriculum or teacher salary, almost all of the increased funding is going toward paying off the state’s unfunded pension liabilities which now total over $25 billion. In 2015 alone, Michigan reserved $883 million in order for districts to pay off their employer retirement contributions.

October 2014

  • State House 44th District candidate shares views
    Milford Times, October 27, 2014
  • Under Gov. Snyder's watch, the Michigan foundation grant funding has increased. The Citizens Research Council found that total state school funding is up by $1 billion comparing FY 2011 to FY 2015. Per-pupil funding is up. Some of the overall funding increase was needed to fund school employee retirement and legacy costs. This is a very responsible long-term action as the past strategy was to kick the can down the road. I would also like to see the foundation grant allowance equalized, as some districts get substantially more state funding than others under a very arbitrary formula.

  • Seniors could play an especially important role in upcoming election
    WCMU [CMU Public Radio], October 24, 2014
  • Bob Schneider with the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council says there's no doubt taxes have gone up for seniors under Governor Snyder. He says many current seniors do not have to worry about the pension tax because they were grandfathered them in.

  • Wayne County Charter Amendment
    Detroit News, October 29, 2014
  • "Specifically it is designed to provide resources to local school districts to support their general operation at a level that they were accustomed to spending before Proposal A," explains Craig Thiel, senior research associate at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

  • Will your vote on wolf hunting matter?
    Lansing State Journal, October 28, 2014
  • To help you understand what you're voting on, we talked to the non-partisan Citizens Research Council to put together a primer on both proposals and why they may not matter until the future.

  • Fact check: Shining some light on school funding debate
    Detroit Free Press, October 28, 2014
  • Commentators such as the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council and Mitch Bean, the former director of the House Fiscal Agency, have argued the amount that could potentially be spent on K-12 schools took a major hit because of actions backed by Snyder — particularly the $1.8-billion tax cut resulting from the elimination of the Michigan Business Tax and the use of about $400 million a year from the School Aid Fund to support community colleges.

    "Combined, these decisions have effectively reduced the amount of state resources schools receive," the Citizens Research Council said in an October report.

  • Quick Summary of Michigan Proposals 1 and 2
    MUCC website, October 20, 2014
  • Proposals 1 and 2: A summary of the props as well as the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, compiled by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council.

  • Petition drive to limit hospital charges gets OK from state
    Crains Detroit Business, October 21, 2014
  • Michigan is the only state to offer unlimited medical benefits for major auto injuries and related rehabilitation, costing drivers $186 per car per year. A report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan concluded last year that the unlimited benefits are a reason for higher medical spending in the state, but bigger factors include auto insurers having the primary responsibility for paying the bills, their lack of market power to negotiate lower payments and their inability to implement cost controls.

  • Experts say Carter's school funding model untested, October 20, 2014
  • Michigan used to require budget votes on K-12, higher education and community colleges. Cutting the number of budget votes to two continued to isolate lawmakers from some political pressure but they still approved cuts to K-12 funding as state revenue was squeezed, said Bob Schneider, director of state affairs at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

  • Tony Conley Show
    WILS, October 20, 2014
  • CRC's Craig Thiel discussed the recent report on school funding.

  • Citizens Research Council Dives Into Education Funding Debate
    WMUK, October 17, 2014
  • The Citizens Research Council has issued a report on one of the most contentious issues of this election season.

  • Clarifying Claims on Michigan Education Spending
    Current State - WKAR, October 16, 2014
  • Education officials in Michigan are crunching the numbers this month, following the statewide student "Count Day" back on October 1. The bi-annual count determines the state's per pupil funding allocation. Obviously, it's in every school district’s best interest to turn out as many students as possible on that single day. But teachers and administrators across the state continue to struggle to fund mandatory programs. Not surprisingly, there's a lot of rhetoric on the campaign trail about school funding. But what story does the data show?

    Current State talks with Craig Thiel, a senior research associate with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan organization that studies public policy issues. He joins us as part of Current State's monthly check-in with the CRC.

  • Research Orgs Attempt To Clear Up Education Funding Confusion
    MIRS New Service, October 16, 2014
  • In its report Making Sense of K-12 Funding, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC) said there has been an "absolute increase in state funding in recent years," but suggested there is more to the story based on an analysis of the recent history of K-12 funding, factors affecting money allocated to school districts and on-hand cash available for classroom instruction.

  • Governor's office defends education funding; 2nd study says funding's up, but tied to retirement, October 16, 2014
  • Meanwhile, a second study released Thursday morning stated the raw numbers show education funding has increased since 2010-11. However, most of that money is earmarked for retirement obligations, and discretionary funds available to school districts have decreased, according to the Citizens Research Council.

  • School spending is up, and on right priorities
    Detroit News, October 14, 2014
  • The independent Citizens Research Council did an extensive analysis in 2013 regarding the additional state funding into the retirement system, and its findings support Snyder's assertion that the extra retirement resources help free more money for the classroom.

    "Regardless of one's perspective, what is clear is that the rapid growth in public school employer costs related to MPSERS has had a substantial impact in crowding out revenues available for other educational purposes and that this impact has left public schools more financially constrained than they were a decade ago," the report stated.

  • Sifting through fuzzy tax math on the campaign trail, October 9, 2014
  • Snyder also pushed for repeal of the Personal Property Tax on business equipment, a measure approved by voters on Aug. 4. The Lansing-based Citizens Research Council calculated that it would cost the state $500 million in revenue by 2025, since the state is committed to repay local governments for revenue losses it sustains as a result. That loss is to be made up in part by an increase in the state user tax, but mostly from anticipated gains from expiring business tax credits. But analysis by the Senate Fiscal Agency said it's not clear revenue gains will be sufficient to cover net losses, stating it is "unknown if the actual revenue generated from the expiration of certificated credits would be sufficient to fund reimbursements..."

  • Decision 2014: School funding fact check
    WDIV TV-4, October 7, 2014
  • What's the truth about school funding under Gov. Snyder?

  • WILS interview about student count day
    WILS Radio, October 6, 2014
  • Craig Thiel is interviewed about the importance and significance of student count day.

  • Discussion of Wolf Hunting Referenda
    The Hopgood Hour, October 5, 2014
  • CRC's Craig Thiel explains the two wolf hunting referenda on the November 4, 2014, election during state Senator Hopgood's cable access show.

  • Michigan taxes: Businesses pay less, you pay more
    Detroit Free Press, October 5, 2014
  • The revamping of Michigan's tax code — described as some of the most sweeping tax reforms the state has seen since the mid-1990s, "involved a fairly significant tax burden shift; reducing business taxes and increasing individual taxes," according to a report by the Citizens Research Council, a nonpartisan research group.

  • Snyder's so-called cut to K-12 is an idea from teacher union playbook, October 4, 2014
  • The MPSERS pension and retiree health care benefit was a voracious spending monster raiding classrooms long before businessman Rick Snyder was known to more than a fraction of a percent of the state's population. During 2004, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan showed the combined MPSERS cost to school districts was already expected to gobble up nearly a 15 percent surcharge on total payrolls.

    But that was the good news. The CRC projected MPSERS costs to hit nearly 25 percent by 2014, and blow past 30 percent by 2020.

September 2014

  • Why Hamtramck, Highland Park are inside Detroit
    WDET in Detroit Free Press, September 23, 2014
  • Ever wonder why Hamtramck and Highland Park are smack dab in the middle of Detroit? Terry Parris Jr. of WDET-FM, one of our partners, explains why.

  • Let's slim down, Michigan
    Detroit News, September 19, 2014
  • Nicole Bradshaw, a research associate with the Citizens Research Council, came out with a report last month highlighting the extent of Michigan's heft and the impact that's having on the state.

  • Today on Current State
    WKAR 90.5 FM and AM 870, September 18, 2014
  • A discussion of the current condition of the state's economy.

  • Truth Squad: Anti-Schauer ad overplays his 'rock star' status, September 17, 2014
  • The Citizens Research Council's white paper on the state’s indebtedness does not mince words: By 2006, its combined general fund and school aid fund cash balances were $1.3 billion in the red. The lost-jobs numbers are also accurate. Again, Truth Squad's earlier analysis of these figures stands: In January 2003, non-farm private sector employment in Michigan stood at 4,445,700. In December 2008, it stood at 4,054,600 – a drop of more than 390,000.

August 2014

  • Michigan's "Weight Problem"
    WestSouthwest WMUK 102.1 FM, August 20, 2014
  • The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has completed a report examining the problem of obesity in Michigan, and some possible solutions.

  • Today on Current State
    WKAR 90.5 FM and AM 870, August 14, 2014
  • A discussion of CRC's recently released paper Addressing Michigan's Obesity Problem.

  • Proposal 1 Passes, Meaning PPT Is Dead
    MIRS Capitol Capsule, August 5, 2014
  • Now, the PPT repeal will begin to phase out over several years. Small taxpayers could already claim an exemption this year. The Citizens Research Council (CRC) did a full analysis of the PPT repeal rollout and the local government reimbursement plan (See "CRC Warns Of Future Budget Hole Prop 1 Creates," 7/29/14).

  • A comprehensive look at Michigan’s Proposal 1 and why I am voting NO on it
    Electablog, August 4, 2014
  • The Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC), which has done the most extensive (and excellent) analysis of the Proposal (HERE), describes the situation this way:
    The package…comes at a price. The reimbursement provisions contained in the package are not cheap, and the State of Michigan will forego an increasing amount of its general fund/general purpose revenue in future years in order to hold local governments harmless from the PPT reforms. The net loss to GF/GP revenue rises to over $500 million by FY2025, and this foregone revenue also means foregone opportunities to use this revenue to meet other budget priorities.

  • Taxpayers Landing First PPT Exemptions Hit First If Prop 1 Flops
    MIRS Capitol Capsule, August 4, 2014
  • The businesses that qualified for the PPT exemption this year would have to resume paying the taxes next year, said Craig THIEL, a senior research associate with the Citizens Research Council (CRC), which has already prepared a detailed analysis on Proposal 1.

  • Officials support Proposal 1, acknowledge uncertainties
    Battle Creek Enquirer, August 2, 2014
  • An analysis released in July by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan analysis said the proposal leads to a net loss of more than $500 million in revenue to the state’s general fund. But lawmakers and supporters say the creation of the statewide Essential Services Assessment and expiring business credits will help offset the loss.

  • Understanding Proposal One
    WLNS-TV Channel 6 (Lansing), August 1, 2014
  • Paul Homeniuk is asking for a "no" vote, citing a study from Citizens Research Council, estimates the state would lose $500 million in General Fund dollars a year by 2015. Less money for schools, roads and revenue sharing.

  • MIRS Capitol Capsule, August 1, 2014
  • Edelson also responds to a report from the Citizens Research Council suggesting passage of this plan could blow a long-term $500 million hole in the state budget.

July 2014

  • Ballot bid to phase out Michigan business tax raises questions
    Detroit News, July 31, 2014
  • An analysis by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan partly parallels the contentions of Michigan’s NOW chapter.

    Lake Orion Review, July 30, 2014
  • Clerk Shults suggests voters should review the state ballot issues at the Citizens Research Council website:

  • CRC Warns Of Future Budget Hole Prop 1 Creates
    MIRS Capitol Capsule, July 29, 2014
  • The Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan is neutral on Proposal 1, but CRC researcher Bob SCHNEIDER said it could blow a $500 million hole in the state budget if the voters approve it.

  • Understanding Michigan's Proposal 1
    Stateside on Michigan Radio, July 30, 2014
  • To help us clear this up a little, Bob Schneider joined us today. Schneider is with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. The organization is a nonpartisan non-profit group that objectively analyzes policy issues like Proposal 1.

  • Proposal 1 asks Michigan voters to weigh in on a complex tax issue, July 26, 2014
  • Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council lays out how this confusing and inaccurate language made its way to the ballot in his post, "Huh? Why am I Voting to Modernize the Tax System?"

  • Kalamazoo-area government, business leaders urge passage on Proposal 1, but unanswered questions remain, July 24, 2014
  • He points to an analysis by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which says Proposal 1 will have "significant fiscal implications for the state's General Fund."

    Essentially, the Proposal 1 is shifting money now going into state coffers to local governments. The CRC estimates the revenue shift will cost the General Fund about $100 million in fiscal 2016, $350 million in fiscal 2017 and $500 million by fiscal 2025. To put those amounts into context, the General Fund's current annual revenues are about $9.4 billion.

  • Personal Property Tax fate in hands of voters
    Metrotimes, July 23, 2014
  • The legislature established a new independent authority that would reimburse local municipalities through a larger share of Michigan’s use tax, according to the Citizens Research Council (CRC), essentially a tax businesses pay on out-of state purchases. The move requires voter approval and would not increase taxes on residents.

  • Michigan Primary 2014: Proposal 1 a business tax cut that local communities can get behind, July 20, 2014
  • "Indeed, the state will experience a revenue windfall from the expiring credits," according to the non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, "although it's not clear the revenue gains will be sufficient to cover net losses arising from the PPT reimbursement proposal."

  • An analysis of the only ballot proposal on the August ballot
    WestSouthwest WMUK 102.1 FM, July 20, 2014
  • Proposal One on the August ballot would eliminate Michigan's Personal Property Tax. The proposal also creates a mechanism for replacing the revenue that local governments currently receive from the tax. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has prepared a report of the ballot proposal. Research Director Eric Lupher discusses the analysis of Proposal One.

  • Flashpoint examines Proposal 1
    WDIV Channel 4, July 13, 2014
  • Devin Scillian examines critical issues surrounding Detroit in this week's roundtable discussion.

  • Personal Property Tax reform reflects mistrust between legislature, municipalities
    WKAR 90.5 FM and AM 870, July 10, 2014
  • A recent report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, an independent, non-partisan research organization that analyzes public policy questions, took a deeper look at what effects Proposal 1 might have in the future. It turns out that, despite little opposition, reforming the Personal Property Tax does come with some costs.

  • Michigan Residents Vote Aug. 5 Whether To Replace Personal Property Tax
    WDET 101.9, July 7, 2014
  • "Proposal 1, the only statewide measure on the August 5 ballot, asks Michigan voters to approve the conversion of a portion of the state's current use tax to a new local tax as part of a plan to reimburse local governments for the cost of recently enacted exemptions of business property from the personal property tax". Craig speaks with Citizens Research Council Director of Research, Eric Lupher.

  • Mackinac Center: Prop 1 Good For State's Economy
    MIRS Capitol Capsule, DATE
  • The Citizens Research Council (CRC) also released a report on Proposal 1 this week.

    In its report, the CRC noted that the PPT package "comes at a price."

    The state, the report said, will forego an increasing amount of its General Fund revenue in future years in order to hold local governments harmless from the PPT changes. The net loss to General Fund revenue would rise to more than $500 million by Fiscal Year 2025, and this foregone revenue also "means foregone opportunities" to use this revenue to meet other budget priorities, according to CRC.

  • Can Michigan unlock a door to criminal justice reforms?
    Lansing State Journal, July 1, 2014
  • Michigan runs the nation's largest state-operated prison program, which employs 30 percent of state workers to oversee nearly 50,000 prisoners. The program is projected to cost about 7 percent more a year, or $80 million more annually, unless changes are made, according to Tom Clay of the well-respected Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

June 2014

  • Hartland Twp. puts roadwork ahead of sidewalks
    Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, June 25, 2014
  • The Citizens Research Council of Michigan reported that Livingston County ranks last among all 83 of the state's counties in per-capita road money received from Lansing.

  • School District Fiscal Health Improves in 2013
    New report indicates school district fiscal health improves in 2013
    MASB Headlines and MASA website, June 24, 2014
  • Between fiscal year 2012 (FY2012) and FY2013, 85 percent of all traditional public school districts in Michigan saw their fiscal health improve or remain steady according to a new report from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, School District Fiscal Health Improves, But Some Long-Term Challenges Remain. This is a marked improvement from FY2012, when over 70 percent of traditional districts experienced increased fiscal stress and a decline in their health. The report also notes that the number of severely stressed districts (deficit districts) has hovered around 50 over the past three years, contrary to earlier warnings from state officials that the number of deficit districts could grow to 100

  • Macomb County voters to decide in November on charter commission
    Detroit Free Press, June 23, 2014
  • Statewide, the last time voters decided whether to call a constitutional convention to revise the 1963 Michigan Constitution was in November 2010, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Voters rejected the idea, which will appear on the ballot again in 2026.

  • Keep the MEAP? That's not very smart, lawmakers
    Detroit Free Press, June 12, 2014
  • There's another wrinkle in this mess: Because of the education department's resistance to retooling the MEAP, some lawmakers are pushing for educational testing to be moved from that department to the state Department of Treasury, a move that the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council said would reduce efficiency and accountability.

  • Michigan road funding: How much could gas taxes go up under Richardville plan?, June 3, 2014
  • Wholesale prices, like those motorists pay at the pump, have climbed in recent years. Back in 1997, the last time Michigan lawmakers increased gasoline taxes, the average wholesale price was around just 80 cents, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

May 2014

  • Michigan board of education opposes moving testing to Treasury Dept.
    Detroit Free Press, May 27, 2014
  • Meanwhile, the non-partisan group Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC) said last week that moving testing from Education Department to Treasury "may serve as an expeditious policy response and meet other priorities, it most likely would come at a cost of less efficiency and accountability in carrying out state education functions."

  • Moving the MEAP will decrease accountability, not improve it, policy group argues, May 24, 2014
  • The nonpartisan, nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan cites the state's experience in 2003 with Treasury oversight of the MEAP as an example of the problems that come with taking control of testing away from the Michigan Department of Education.

  • We owe it to the taxpayers to look at it again
    Warren Weekly, May 21, 2014
  • According to the Council Comments of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan dated June 1994, the adoption of Proposal A authorized a new state property tax of 6 mills on all property. This became the state education tax to be levied by the state for school funding. One reason for Proposal A was to increase funding for low-funded districts.

  • Pulling the Strings: How the Ilitches landed a sweet deal for a new hockey arena
    MetroTimes, May 13, 2014
  • But, had the funding mechanism not been tapped again for economic development, the DDA school tax capture would have been sent to the School Aid Fund, says Eric Lupher, research director for the Citizens Research Council of Livonia. That revenue stream, along with an additional $2 million tax capture from the DDA, will be used to pay down $450 million in bonds being issued by the Michigan Strategic Fund, an arm of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, to fund the project's construction costs.

  • $450 million road funding package rolls through Michigan House with bipartisan support, May 8, 2014
  • Supporters say existing fuel taxes do not have the buying power they once did. If the 19-cent per-gallon gasoline tax had been indexed for inflation, it would have reached 27 cents by 2011, according to a report from the non-partisan Citizens Research Council.

  • Prison costs could rise by $500M
    The Mining Journal, May 4, 2014
  • The Citizens Research Council of Michigan projects the 50,200-inmate population will expand by 5,800 in that time.

April 2014

  • How much does it cost to educate a child? In Michigan, nobody knows, April 30, 2014
  • But before Michigan can have a conversation about how to fund schools, it should first determine how much money is needed boost achievement in the state, said Craig Thiel, a senior research associate with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a Lansing-based nonprofit research group.

    "Is the pot large enough? Michigan has never attempted to find out what it costs to educate a general education student," he said.

  • 38 in Duggan's administration paid six-figure salaries, record shows
    Detroit Free Press, April 23, 2014
  • Even with Detroit in the nation’s largest-ever municipal bankruptcy, city leaders have to set reasonable pay levels to attract the talent they need to get the job done, said Eric Lupher of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, an independent fiscal watchdog group that has been critical of Detroit’s past financial decisions.

    "You need to pay accordingly to either draw people from the public sector in similar jobs or from the private sector," Lupher said. "In Detroit, there’s a high burnout factor because of the pressures of the job. ... If the job is justified, if it’s responsible for running departments or overseeing an important public service, get somebody in and pay them so they’re not looking for the next job."

  • Study Says Local Tax Revenues are Down
    WOOD Radio, April 21, 2014
  • The report from the Citizens Research Council says that from 2009 to 2012, state tax revenues increased by one-point-two (b) billion dollars, while local tax revenues declined by one-point-one (b) billion.

  • Report: Michigan tax revenue up $1.3B since 2009, local tax revenue down $1B, April 16, 2014
  • The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan published its annual tax report Tuesday, the state deadline for personal income tax filings, outlining recently-approved tax code changes and publishing data on past collections.

  • Report: Locals Saw $1B Revenue Loss Between '09, '12
    MIRS Capitol Capsule, April 15, 2014
  • The Citizens Research Council (CRC) study shows that while total state tax revenues went from $24.3 billion in 2009 to $25.6 billion in 2012 -- an increase of $1.3 billion -- total local taxes went from $12.6 billion to $11.6 billion.

  • Locals To State: Partnership 'Broken,' Needs Fixing
    Gongwer News Service, April 15, 2014
  • An updated report of the state's tax system released Tuesday by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan has local municipalities giving state government the "I told you so" treatment, as the report suggests local governments are struggling financially due to various tax policy changes.

  • Local governments: Tax Day study shows state not paying fair share
    Michigan Radio, April 15, 2014
  • The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council released a study Tuesday that shows state revenue grew by more than $1 billion between 2009 and 2012. At the same time, local government revenue dropped by about the same amount.

  • After spending more money on prisons than higher education, Michigan gets serious about high cost of corrections, April 15, 2014
  • Instead of early release, Schuette argues the state should looks to cut costs by reducing wages of corrections employees and the cost of services. According to a 2011 study by the Lansing-based Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit research organization, Michigan's corrections wages ranked sixth highest in the nation, at $58,089 a year. He backs the decision in 2013 to privatize food service for prisons and would expand that to areas like laundry and transportation.

  • Today's Deficit Districts Face Uphill Battle
    MIRS Capitol Capsule, April 11, 2014
  • "School districts could ask the voters `hey we've got a problem, we need to solve it,'" said Craig THIEL of Citizens Research Council (CRC).

    So for the first few years of the data MIRS analyzed, that was an option, but not anymore.

    "The calculus is now `you've got to solve the problem within the resources you have,'" Thiel said.

  • Saugatuck, Douglas left out of state money for consolidation study
    Holland Sentinel, April 9, 2014
  • “All along, they said this money is here to do these things,” said Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier, but the state decided not to help fund the $10,000 study by the Citizens Research Council that said the cities could save about $500,000 if they consolidated.

March 2014

  • Public affairs research
    Downtown: Birmingham/Bloomfield news magazine, March 31, 2014
  • The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is a public affairs research organization whose sole objective since it began in 1916 has been to provide legislators, business people and the media with factual, unbiased, and independent information on significant issues concerning state and local government organization and finance. It is a privately-funded, not-for-profit organization which takes absolutely no political stance whatsoever, making it the ultimate resource for Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

  • Michigan's no-fault insurance protection is about people, not profits, and needs to be maintained, March 30, 2014
  • A long time ago we chose to take care of one another. We should not let a singular focus on a financial "for-profit-above-all-else" attitude distort a core value that has served Michigan and America so well. As a recent Citizens Research Council Report concludes: "Policymakers should consider reforms to Michigan's no-fault insurance that have little to no impact on accident victims but would potentially lead to significant reductions in health care spending related to auto accidents."

  • How Michigan's revenue sharing 'raid' cost communities billions for local services, March 26, 2014
  • The non-partisan Citizens Research Council, in a 2013 report, noted that more than $5 billion was diverted from the statutory revenue sharing program between fiscal years 2001 and 2012. State budgets grew slightly faster than the rate of inflation during that time, while municipalities cut roughly 27 percent of their workforce.

  • Michigan cities slam state for holding on to $6.2B
    Detroit News, March 19, 2014
  • A 2012 report on revenue sharing by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan noted local Michigan governments rely more on state money as a proportion of their general revenues than those in all but a few other states.

    The Snyder administration's revenue-sharing performance criteria are constitutional, the CRC report also said, but at least some of them seem to violate the “spirit” of state law. They seek to achieve policy objectives at the expense, at least in perception, of local control, CRC said.

  • Ed Experts: Enrollment Down, Schools Up, Local Funding Flawed
    MIRS News Service, March 11, 2014
  • This time, SBE heard from Jeff GUILFOYLE and Craig THIEL with Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC) and David ARSEN, a professor with Michigan State University's College of Education.

    The CRC tackled the issues of declining enrollment, special education funding and financially stressed districts. Arsen dove deeper into overall funding and local discrepancies in funding.

  • Breaking down Michigan's no-fault auto insurance: The costs, the claims and who ultimately pays, March 11, 2014
  • A 2013 report by the nonpartisan, Lansing-based Citizens Research Council found that Michigan's no-fault law accounted for medical claims in Michigan that cost insurers 57 percent more than claims in similar crashes in other states. It also found that auto insurance premiums in Michigan are 17 percent higher than the average in other states.

February 2014

  • Bankruptcy exit plan explores collecting taxes from residents working outside Detroit
    Detroit News, February 24, 2014
  • Eric Lupher, director of local affairs for the Citizens Research Council, agreed, saying some communities in a similar situation would support state legislation putting the onus for collecting those taxes on employers outside their borders.

  • Citizens Need More Details From Plan of Adjustment
    WDET Radio, February 21, 2014
  • The city of Detroit released its plan of adjustment, which proposes cuts to pensions and restructuring of city services. The plan is designed to help the city emerge from bankruptcy. WDET's Sandra Svoboda spoke with Eric Lupher, Director of Local Affairs for Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

  • Hartland task force calls for road tax
    Daily Press & Argus, February 19, 2014
  • Task force members noted that the Citizens Research Council of Michigan has reported that Livingston County ranks last among all 83 of the state's counties in per-capita road money received from Lansing.

  • Detroiters without cars seek jobs in vain amid depopulated city
    Crain's Detroit Business, February 18, 2014
  • Those gains push against a decades-long tide of blight and population loss that eroded the tax base. Detroit lost 78 percent of its retail businesses and 80 percent of its manufacturing base from 1972 to 2007 -- before the 18-month recession that began in December 2007 -- according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a public-policy nonprofit organization.

January 2014

  • Come Heller high water
    MLive, January 31, 2014
  • Hint: The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan says that, adjusting for inflation and retirement costs, revenue for other basic school spending is down nearly 9 percent from a decade ago

  • Fiscal finaglers could evade Balanced Budget Amendment
    Detroit News Blog, January 31, 2014
  • But as the Michigan Citizens Research Council noted in a 2009 report, more than $8 billion in one-time revenues and accounting gimmicks were used between fiscal 2001 and fiscal 2008 to produce "balanced" budgets.

  • Mark Schauer targets right-to-work, penion tax and disputed K-12 cuts in Detroit rally
    MLive Newspapers, January 28, 2014
  • Senate Fiscal Agency records show that overall education funding has increased since Snyder took office, but the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan notes that much of the extra funds have gone toward increased state contributions to retirement funds, rather than into classrooms.

  • Snyder takes on K-12 funding 'misinformation'
    AP story, January 26, 2014
  • The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan says while the debate over funding K-12 education is nothing new, it has moved beyond the question of how much money is needed to "how much was received." The group says while state funding has risen significantly of late, it mostly helped to restore the lost stimulus aid and to meet growing unfunded retirement liabilities from the 2008-09 market collapse.

  • Michigan's Budget Surplus May Prevent Cuts to School Funding
    WEMU 89.1, January 14, 2014
  • Last year, the non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan warned recent funding increases for schools and early childhood programs might not be sustainable. It estimated they would create a $240 million hole in the state's School Aid Budget.

  • Citizens Research Council looks at the process of ballot initiatives in MichiganE
    WDET, January 10, 2014
  • Podcast of Craig Fahle show

  • Dissolve troubled school districts with care
    Detroit News, January 2, 2014
  • Last summer, under the authority of a new state law, state officials dissolved two school districts. Their pupils were assigned to neighboring systems. But a thoughtful new study by the Michigan Citizens Research Council suggests that this tactic should be used sparingly.



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Last Updated December 17, 2014