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December 31, 2017

2017 Media Citations

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Michigan’s rainy day fund called insufficient for a downturn
Bond Buyer, December 29, 2017
Michigan’s rainy day fund wouldn’t last long if there was another economic downturn, according to a report from the Citizens Research Council.


The kill switch built in to Michigan’s Medicaid expansion law
Detroit Free Press, December 17, 2017
Guest Column


How to pay for special education is a growing concern across Michigan
Chalkbeat Detroit, December 8, 2017
Guest Column by Craig Thiel and Michigan State University Professor Sarah Reckhow


Michigan particularly vulnerable to federal budget cuts
Capital News Service, December 8, 2017
Leveraging federal dollars to support state programs generally makes sense. But acquiring so much money from the federal government has a dark side, said Craig Thiel, a research director with Citizens Research Council, a governmental policy research organization. What happens if it’s taken away?


Medicaid expansion has positive impacts on Michigan economy
The Peninsula, December 7, 2017
The 2014 federal expansion of Medicaid has had positive impacts on the Michigan economy, a Citizens Research Council of Michigan study found.


Healthy Michigan Has Been Beneficial To Whole State, Report Says
Gongwer News Service, December 5, 2017
Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program, Healthy Michigan, has kept health insurance premiums lower overall and has fostered health care innovation, particularly in terms social factors of health, but the legislation that enacted the program has a grave defect that could cost the state the overall benefit of the program, a report by the Citizens Research Council said.


Citizens Research Council of Michigan examines whether the state is ready for the next recession
WestSouthwest on WMUK, December 4, 2017
No one can say when the next recession will come, but eventually the economy will slow down. Citizens Research Council of Michigan president Eric Lupher discusses their report on the state’s rainy day fund,. He explains why it would only help get through a mild recession right now.

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Michigan’s got a savings problem
Detroit News, November 20, 2017
Guest Column


Snyder has steadied state finances, yet that may not be enough
Bridge Magazine, November 20, 2017
In a downturn, having money for a rainy day will be important because the general fund primarily consists of revenue from the state’s 4.25 percent income tax. Income tax revenue is the most sensitive to a recession because it’s directly tied to employment, said Craig Thiel, research director for the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. If fewer people are working, less money comes in.


Michigan lawmakers find it hard to save money
Michigan Radio, November 20, 2017
A recent report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council says Michigan is not ready for another recession. The report says lawmakers are short-changing the state’s savings-account, officially known as the Budget Stabilization Fund, but commonly referred to as the “rainy day” fund.


Week in Review: Rainy day fund worries and another LGBT bias decision delay
Michigan Radio, November 18, 2017
The state’s savings account wouldn’t last long if there was another economic downturn. That’s according to new analysis from the Citizens Research Council.


Despite Slow, Steady Economic Growth, Challenges Remain For State Budget
MIRS, November 17, 2017
Eric LUPHER, of the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan, then outlined his analysis of what that all means for the state budget. While slow by steady growth in the economy will translate to slow but steady growth in the state budget, Lupher said the majority of that money is already earmarked for special purposes. Of the state’s $56.5 billion overall budget for 2018, only about $10 billion of that, 18.4 percent, is available for discretionary spending as General Fund/General Purpose money.


Report Says State Government Short On Savings
Michigan Radio, November 16, 2017
Craig Theil is with the non-partisan Citizens Research Council. He says lawmakers tend to focus on boosting funding for services or cutting taxes when there’s a revenue windfall.


Troy voters to decide who should control sale of city land — council or residents
Detroit Free Press, November 6, 2017
In a larger sense, the ballot question speaks to a timeless issue that has forever swirled in democracies – just how much power voters should give to their elected representatives, said Eric Lupher, president of the nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a think tank in Livonia:
“We think there’s nothing wrong with having referendums and engaging citizens to make sure that their elected officials are representing their desires,” Lupher said.
“But this Troy question could bog down the actions of the government and the nonprofits that benefit from using the city’s public lands,” he said.


Charter schools’ mixed results
The [St. Joseph] Herald Palladium, November 5, 2018
A 2010 report done by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan found that nationwide, 17 percent of charter schools outperformed traditional schools, while 37 percent were significantly worse and 46 percent were about the same.


“Why Isn’t There More Information About Who’s Running for Office?”
WDET 101.9FM, November 4, 2017
Eric Lupher, executive director of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, has spent some time thinking about how such an undertaking could work in Michigan. The CRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group with offices in Livonia and Lansing, researches and analyzes public policy. Lupher has also wondered more about the people who make policy.


Governance structures impact tax questions
Detroit News, November 3, 2017
Guest article


Michigan’s driver responsibility fees: A cautionary tale of bad policy-making
Detroit Free Press, November 3, 2017
Snyder is right to be wary of a roughly $30 million hit to the state budget, already thin thanks to business tax cuts ladled out by Snyder in his first term, existing tax incentives state government must make good on and a terrible road-repair deal that will siphon dollars from the state’s main bank account. In fact, we’re headed for another shortfall — a $2 billion to $5 billion budget hole by 2020, the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council warns.

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Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson Recaps Mayoral Debate
Detroit Today on WDET, October 26, 2017
Eric Lupher of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan also joins the show to share his thoughts about the debate.



This bill would give charter schools a cut of millage revenue. Here’s what you need to know.

Stateside on Michigan Radio, October 23, 2017
Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan says otherwise.
“As I read it – and I’m not a practicing attorney, I’m a public policy guy – I can’t see where this only applies to renewals or new millages,” Thiel said. “It appears that the language is written that the next time the revenue is collected, and if this law were put on the books, the distribution would change and the charters would take a piece of the existing millages.”


The Pizza And Prizes Michigan Schools Use To Lure Students On Count Day Are ‘Unfortunate.’ But Is There A Better Way?
Daily Detroit, October 8, 2017
Michigan began relying on Count Day when it changed to a per-pupil funding system more than 20 years ago. But the day has become more crucial in recent years as the state’s shrinking school-age population has forced districts to aggressively compete for students, said Craig Thiel, research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Reining in ‘special authorities’ that don’t represent the people
Bridge Magazine, October 5, 2017
Guest article by Eric Lupher


Michigan hired Rick Snyder to fix the budget. That’s not going so well.
Detroit Free Press, October 1, 2017
Michigan’s facing a $2-billion shortfall in its $10 billion general fund by 2022, an analysis by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council found, thanks to outstanding tax credits offered to businesses, and an ill-advised deal to repair the state’s roads that relies on future revenue growth, which isn’t happening.

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White anger spurred by us not acting like ‘acceptable blacks’
Detroit Free Press, September 29, 2017
The question came up during a panel discussion at the annual Citizens Research Council dinner at Michigan State University on Wednesday evening. “When will we be able to stop talking about race?”


Commentary on the mayoral recall: why your ballot will be different
East Village Magazine, September 28, 2017
This gave Michigan one of the highest number of recall attempts in the nation. Though many were not successful, it meant that local officials were frequently tied up in recall elections for much of their time in office. Michigan’s recalls surpassed other states by a good margin. A report by the Citizens Research Council indicated that between 2000 and 2011, 457 state and local officials faced recalls in the state. For that time period, the average number of recalls in Michigan was 38 per year. California’s average was a distant second with only 18. In 2011, by one calculation, nearly a third of Michigan’s 148 lawmakers faced the threat of recall campaign, though only one actually went before the voters. Another report indicated that nearly 700 petitions for recall were filed in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties between 2005 and 2010, though most didn’t get to the ballot stage. Since the passage of the law in 2012 the number of recalls has dropped dramatically.


Eric Lupher – Citizens Research Council President talks with guest host Fox 2 News’ M.L. Elrick
WJR 760 AM, September 27, 2017
Citizens Research Council President Eric Lupher talks about the Annual Dinner and the work of the Research Council.


Op-Ed Appointment vs. direct election
White Lake Beacon, September 27, 2017
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan’s newest report questions whether the legislatively-created governance structure of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) played a role in its failure to gain voter support for the RTA’s November 2016 millage request. The underlying question – should single-purpose special authorities be treated similar to general purpose local governments to ensure representative governance and accountability to taxpayers?


Citizens Research Council of Michigan report questions Regional Transportation Authority
The Peninsula, September 25, 2017
The Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan recently released a report that calls into question the legitimacy of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) under the principle of one person, one vote.


Snyder, Schuette Flint tensions flare at confab
Detroit News, September 25, 2017
He downplayed a report from the non-partisan Citizens Research Council highlighting $2 billion to $5 billion in budget diversions Michigan could see by fiscal year 2022.


Benton Harbor city income tax poses pros, cons
Herald Palladium, September 24, 2017
Not much has changed in city income tax law, said Eric Lupher, president of Citizens Research Council, an independent research organization.


Are we in for a state budget crisis?
MiWeek on Detroit Public Television, September 21, 2017
MiWeek host Christie McDonald interviews Citizens Research Council President Eric Lupher about our Challenges Ahead in Balancing the State Budget report. (starts at 8:45 into the show)


Part-Time Legislature Plan Called ‘Campaign Stunt’ At Panel Discussion
MIRS, September 21, 2017
He was speaking today along with Jordon NEWTON, of the Citizens Research Council (CRC), and Ed SARPOLUS, president of the polling firm Target Insyght, in a panel discussion taking an in-depth look at the proposed constitutional amendment to make Michigan’s legislature part-time. The discussion was hosted at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce offices in Lansing, along with the CRC and MIRS before a crowd of about 75. (subscription required)


Regional Government Raises Questions, CRC Says In Report
Gongwer News Service, September 21, 2017
While regional governments are few in Michigan, their existence has raised questions on how they should be structured and how they should legally be authorized to exercise policy, the Citizens Research Council said in a report released Thursday. (subscription required)


Bill Schuette panders in bid for governor, where Michigan needs cold reality
Detroit Free Press, September 17, 2017
If we do nothing in Michigan over the next five years — no tax decreases or increases — the Citizens Research Council reports that we’ll have a $2-billion structural deficit in the state. That’s because of a combination of tax cuts already in place ($800 million of them under Gov. Rick Snyder alone), slow growth of our tax base, plus an unwieldy hangover from the tax credits extended to businesses during the administration of Gov. Jennifer Granholm.


Politics in Michigan
MiWeek on Detroit Public Television, September 14, 2017
Detroit Free Press Editorial Director Stephen Henderson discusses the Citizens Research Council’s Challenges Ahead in Balancing the State Budget report relative to gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette’s desire to cut the state income tax. (mentioned at 9:30 into the show)


Vitti: Detroit’s public school system won’t have teacher shortage next year
Michigan Radio, September 14, 2017
Vitti spoke to a capacity crowd at an event in Detroit sponsored by the Citizen’s Research Council.


Public investment is vital to Michigan
Traverse City Record-Eagle, September 12, 2017
Michigan’s experience over the last 20 years provides ample evidence that cutting taxes is not a way to increase state prosperity. In 1993, per capita Michigan taxes (state and local combined) per capita were 3 percent above the national average, and the state’s per capita income was 3 percent below the national average. In 2004, the state’s per capita taxes had fallen below the national average by 3 percent, but we had fallen even farther behind the nation in per capita income, trailing the nation by 6 percent. And in 2013 (the last year for which tax data is available) the state was 12 percent below the national average in taxes per capita and 12 percent below the national average in per capita income. (The tax data comes from a 2013 Tax Revenue Comparisons: Michigan and the U.S. Average report by the Citizens Research Council.)

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Legislators consider bucking Snyder on tax break
Detroit News, August 25, 2017
A recent report by the non-partisan Citizens Research Council highlighted several challenges that lie ahead for the Michigan budget, including previously approved tax credits and other promises that will divert about $2 billion a year in state revenue.


See which Michigan cities have a local income tax as two more consider the idea
MLive.com, August 20, 2017
According to a 2013 report from the nonprofit organization Citizens Research Council, the local income tax base includes compensation and other forms of income from residents, income earned while working in the city from non-residents and the total income earned in a city from corporations.


What to know about Michigan’s 2018 ballot drives
AP.com, August 19, 2017
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, a potential Republican gubernatorial candidate, is spearheading a constitutional amendment to make the Legislature a part-time body. It would require lawmakers to adjourn their regular session by April 15 of each year, slashing their pay from about $72,000 to an amount equaling half of the average teacher’s salary — roughly $32,000 based on 2015-16 data compiled by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council.


Michigan says it can manage fiscal strains outlined in a report
Bond Buyer, August 15, 2017
The report from the Citizens Research Council, a 101-year-old not-for-profit public affairs research organization, projects that the state’s $10 billion general fund could see a decrease by more than $2 billion by 2022 on the back of tax cuts, increased road construction, past economic development incentives and other factors.


Dealing with the state budget deficit
The Alpena News, August 14, 2017
The Michigan Citizens Research Council with a storied and honorable non-partisan history of diving into complex issues for decades fired-off the first warning shot with its recent analysis of Michigan’s budget.


Michigan’s Troubling Budget Future
WestSouthwest on WMUK, August 14, 2017
Citizens Research Council of Michigan President Eric Lupher says a 20% reduction in a budget of $10-billion can sound kind of abstract. But he says it helps to think about what that money is spent on in Michigan.


Public service loan forgiveness can help fix the shortage of primary care and rural physicians
STAT, August 12, 2017
Echoing findings across the country about the growing shortage of primary care physicians in rural areas across the country, a 2015 study by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan found that physician shortages in at least one primary care field existed in three out of every four Michigan counties.


Trouble ahead for the Michigan budget
Detroit Free Press, August 12, 2017
A new report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council is forecasting big economic trouble for Michigan, a $2-billion hole baked into the state budget, scheduled to hit by 2022.


Karen Spranger: Agent of change or simply unqualified to hold Macomb clerk’s job?
Detroit Free Press, August 10, 2017
For the governor to remove an elected official, that usually rises to the level of corruption or misfeasance or malfeasance, said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan in Livonia.


Republicans aren’t leading
Detroit Free Press, August 9, 2017
The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan says that there will be a net $2-billion reduction in the State’s general fund in just over four years. Republicans are squandering their chance to truly lead, on the state as well as the national level. The result of Republican governance in Michigan appears to be financial disaster, along with callous disregard of the true needs of our state.


The bill for tax breaks could be coming due
WLNS, August 8, 2017
According to the Michigan Citizens Research Council the fixed costs for tax cuts are substantial.


CRC ‘Not Sure Government Can Function’ Without Income Tax Revenue
MIRS Capitol Capsule, August 8, 2017
But the Michigan Citizens Research Council (CRC) doesn’t think such a venture is realistic. CRC Research Director Craig THIEL recently published a report that showed tax credits and promises made by previous legislatures will begin costing the state $2 billion a year.


MI Doctors Group: More Primary Care Physicians Needed
News/Talk 94.9 WSJM, August 7, 2017
Because of an aging population, retiring physicians and Medicaid and private insurance expansion, Michigan may need 12% more primary care physicians by 2030, according to a report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Report: Michigan to face $2 billion budget squeeze in general fund
Crain’s Detroit Business, August 7, 2017
Tax cuts, increased road construction, past economic development incentives and other factors will combine to reduce or divert state revenue by $2 billion annually in just over four years — the equivalent of 20 percent of Michigan’s general fund account.
That’s a key takeaway from a report issued this past week by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. It says while the state is rebounding from two major recessions, budget turbulence is ahead due to policy choices in Lansing.


Report: Michigan to face $2B budget squeeze in general fund
AP.com, August 5, 2017
Tax cuts, increased road construction, past economic development incentives and other factors will combine to reduce or divert state revenue by $2 billion annually in just over four years — the equivalent of 20 percent of Michigan’s general fund account.
That’s a key takeaway from a report issued this past week by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. It says while the state is rebounding from two major recessions, budget turbulence is ahead due to policy choices in Lansing.


Political roundup: New report predicts $2 billion shortfall in Michigan’s general fund
Michigan Radio, August 4, 2017
Not much is happening with Michigan’s legislature. They’re out of session for much of August. But a state budget of more than $56 billion dollars was passed on time this year.
A recent report from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan indicates that the $10 billion general fund — the only part of the budget the Legislature can influence — will be hit hard in the next few years general fund obligations grow.


New report predicts $2 billion shortfall in Michigan’s general fund
Stateside on Michigan Radio, August 4, 2017
Not much is happening with Michigan’s legislature. They’re out of session for much of August. But a state budget of more than $56 billion dollars was passed on time this year.
A recent report from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan indicates that the $10 billion general fund — the only part of the budget the Legislature can influence — will be hit hard in the next few years general fund obligations grow.


Off the Record
Public Television, August 4, 2017
Our report on Michigan’s budget challenges was mentioned today on “Off the Record.” (At the 11:38 minute mark)


Clouds form on the horizon for Michigan’s finances
Michigan Radio, August 2, 2017
But what really caught my attention was this: The Citizens’ Research Council of Michigan is a vastly respected, non-partisan agency that has been around for a century. And yesterday it released a study euphemistically called “Challenges Ahead in Balancing the State Budget.” I would have called it, “We are living on the side of the mountain, and the avalanche is about to start.”


CRC: Dark Storms Gathering Over State’s General Fund
MIRS Capitol Capsule, August 1, 2017
State lawmakers will be forced to deal with the committed diversion of between 20 and 45 percent of the state’s General Fund in the not too distant future, according to a new report by the Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan.


Report: $2B Problem Barreling Toward State Budget
Gongwer Michigan Report, August 1, 2017
With diversions from the General Fund and potential cuts at the federal level, the Legislature could be forced to make some tough choices with no new revenue sources expected, particularly if the state suffers another economic downturn, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan said in a report released Tuesday.


Despite economic growth, Michigan budget to face steep challenges
Bridge Magazine, August 1, 2017
The $56.5 billion total spending plan, which takes effect October 1, includes $10.0 billion in appropriations from the state’s discretionary General Fund checkbook, about the same amount authorized in the current year. While budget deliberations this year centered around maintaining current spending levels or marginally increasing funding in specific areas (e.g., all levels of education), a new report by our group, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, shows that a number of decisions made by previous legislatures will muddy the waters, making the challenge of balancing the state budget much more difficult in future years.

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No women meant no health care bill
Sport News City, July 25, 2017
Timothy Michling, a research associate with the nonpartisan nonprofit Citizens Research Council of MI, said although the program has been running smoothly so far, it would be hard for the state to make many tweaks or updates to status quo without knowing whether the federal Medicaid expansion will remain.


These 6 themes emerged when we asked Michigan teachers about their pay
Michigan Radio, July 25, 2017
This type of quote came up a lot in our teacher survey, so I called up Craig Thiel at the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan to have him walk me through the details.


Uncertainty over future of federal health care laws felt in Michigan
MLive.com, July 21, 2017
Timothy Michling, a research associate with the nonpartisan nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said although the program has been running smoothly so far, it would be difficult for the state to make many tweaks or updates to status quo without knowing whether the federal Medicaid expansion will remain.


Vitti should keep charter door open
Detroit News, July 14, 2017
It’s true that the Detroit district is operating too many facilities. A recent Citizens Research Council of Michigan report highlights how big a problem this is for the district’s bottom line.
The report finds that 35 K-8 schools are only at 50-75 percent enrollment capacity. And 29 K-8 schools are between 25-50 percent full. Seven high schools are at less than 25 percent capacity.


Addressing the doctor shortage: More than 1,500 medical residents complete training in Michigan
Crain’s Detroit Business, July 3, 2017
Because of an aging population, retiring physicians and Medicaid and private insurance expansion, Michigan may need 12 percent more primary care physicians by 2030 than the 16,200 it currently has, according to a 2015 report by the Citizen Research Council of Michigan.

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Disincorporation debate
Grand Haven Tribune, June 20, 2017
The two-hour event was moderated by Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit, nonpartisian organization that has helped other municipalities explore mergers and disincorporation.


Should village of Spring Lake disincorporate?
WOOD-TV, June 19, 2017
The meeting was run by Eric Lupher, the president of Citizens Research of Michigan. He started the meeting by getting a feel for the room by using text message polling. About 80 percent of those who participated in the poll were village residents. Eighty percent also said they would vote against disincorporation if asked to cast their ballots immediately.


Civic, business leaders emphasize urban agenda at Mackinac Policy Conference
MiBiz.com, June 12, 2017
Historically speaking, about 60 percent of revenue raised by the state was distributed to local units of governments, according to a 2012 study by Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a Lansing-based nonpartisan research group.


Detroit Schools Finances: How’s the New District Doing?
WDET Public Radio, June 9, 2017
In its first fiscal year of existence, the Detroit Public Schools Community District is projected to finish with a $64 million surplus in its roughly $654 million budget, according to a new report from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Detroit Public Schools Out Of The Fire, Not The Woods
MIRS News Service, June 6, 2017
The new Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) has been rescued from the fire, but still is not out of the woods, according to a Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan analyst.

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The 3 biggest challenges for new superintendent of Detroit schools
Detroit Free Press, May 31, 2017
Citizens Research Council op-ed


Calley announces ballot drive for part-time Legislature
AP.com, May 31, 2017
Their annual pay would be slashed from about $72,000 to an amount equaling about half of the average teacher’s salary — roughly $32,000 based on 2015-16 data compiled by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council.


A study guide for Detroit’s new superintendent
WCHB FM, May 30, 2017
Dr. Nikolai Vitti just began his tenure as superintendent of the “new” Detroit Public Schools Community District, the state’s largest school district. While school soon will be out for summer for students, Dr. Vitti’s school year is just beginning. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has just issued its “Progress Report on Detroit Public Schools Community District Finances” that gives him a timely study guide to the critical issues that need to be addressed to keep the district financially sound.


Looming Financial Threats Could Undermine ‘Fresh’ Start For New Detroit District, Says Report
Daily Detroit, May 28, 2017
The report, from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, notes that almost a third of the district’s $64 million surplus is the cost savings from more than 200 vacant teaching positions.


Michigan Teachers Are the Nation’s Highest Paid
Michigan Capitol Confidential, May 22, 2017
Using that type of analysis, a study from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan found that Michigan public school teachers are the highest paid in the nation when salaries are compared to average incomes in the state where they serve.


Pooling resources could help local governments afford services
Michigan Radio, May 5, 2017
A research group has been looking at ways local governments might band together to save money, since money is short.
Eric Lupher is president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. The report he just published is titled, “Counties in Michigan: An exercise in regional government.”

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Municipalities’ fiscal outlook is gloomy despite economy
AP Story, April 22, 2017
Despite continued job growth and record auto sales, the state’s per-capita personal income lags the national average after a long-lasting downturn. Taxable values of property — which largely determine revenue for local governments — are below peak levels in 85 percent of municipalities, according to the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council. And their other major revenue source, state aid, is down 20 percent from 15 years ago.


State Pre-Funding Its Own OPEB Liability Between 27.5%, 0%
MIRS News, April 18, 2017
Although some of those numbers may look like a retirement system is weak, the system that ought to be of the most concern is the teacher retirement system, said Craig THIEL, senior research associate for the Citizens Research Council.
“In terms of the potential for creating serious financial problems, the teachers’ one is the one you have look at just because of the sheer size and scale. That is the one that is most threatening to the viability of school districts and the state,” he said.


Is It Time For A New Local Government Structure?
West Southwest show on WMUK Public Radio, April 17, 2017
Citizens Research Council of Michigan President Eric Lupher says there’s little appetite for eliminating local units of government in Michigan. But he says there is still a chance for reforming government services.


Town hall connects residents with legislators
Hometownlife Newspapers, April 14, 2017
Pagan and Dingell were joined by Ezinne Ndukwe, a health care analyst for the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, and Timothy Michling, a research associate with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization committed to improving health and informing policy based on facts.


Michigan’s no-fault system broken
Detroit News, April 4, 2017
Finally, the third: Reduce medical costs and insurance premiums by allowing auto insurers to negotiate the best rate for their customers, just like other insurance companies can. Currently, auto insurance companies often pay 200 to 300 percent more for the same procedure as health insurance companies. That’s because health insurance companies can negotiate rates, but a loophole in state law makes it nearly impossible for auto insurance companies to do the same. This can lead to medical care providers ordering and charging for tests and procedures that may provide little or no health value to the patient, according to a report issued by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

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Taking a hammer to how Michigan cities are funded
Traverse City Record-Eagle, March 31, 2017
This analysis is confirmed by a Citizens Research Council of Michigan report issued in December that examined changes in local tax bases statewide. Like Bridge, our analysis started by comparing today’s property tax base to the levels local governments taxed before the most recent recession. Similarly, we found that 85.0 percent of these local units have 2016 taxable values below what they had in at their inflation-adjusted peaks.


Make school budget work for all kids
Detroit News, March 30, 2017
A work group that studied shared time for the state Education Department found 303 districts participate, and nearly 86,000 students benefit from these courses. Craig Thiel, senior research associate at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, says the courts have settled the legality of shared time, and that it’s been a boon for districts.


CRC Report Suggests Counties Could Take On More Of Locals’ Services
MIRS News Service, March 29, 2017
A Citizens Research Council (CRC) report suggested shifting more services from locals to the county level could help cities, villages and townships balance their budgets and better serve their residents.


Taking a hammer, not a scalpel, to how Michigan cities are funded
Bridge Magazine, March 23, 2017
Guest Column


Groups sue to stop public funds for private schools
Detroit News, March 21, 2017
The provision dates back to the 1850 state Constitution and remained in the current version adopted in 1963, said Craig Thiel, president of the non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.
Courts usually have held that “the Legislature is the final arbiter on what is and what is not a private purpose,” Thiel said, “and in this case the Legislature went out of their way to say it’s their intention that the money is serving a larger public good.”


Michigan Already Awash in Business Subsidies
Mackinac Center blog, March 16, 2017
The Citizens Research Council gives a list and description of the economic development programs available to businesses in Michigan. It lists 53 programs offered by the state, local and federal governments. The report is 166 pages long. Some of the programs mentioned are no longer handing out awards, but most are.


State should treasure education, fund it
[Escanaba] Daily Press, March 9, 2017
The October 2014 Citizens Research Council of Michigan Memo noted, “…Overall, the School Aid Fund shouldered a significant amount of the net $1.8 billion business tax cut portion of the tax reform package.”

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Auto insurers support D-Insurance
Detroit News, February 28, 2017
A 2013 study on the medical costs of no-fault insurance conducted by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a non-partisan, independent research organization, found medical providers in Michigan charge more for care related to car accidents than other states — almost 25 percent more. The CRC also found that no check on providers existed to keep them from ordering or charging more for services that may not actually help the patient. No-fault reform would begin to fix that.


Adderley family creates $1 million endowment for Citizens Research Council of Michigan
The Peninsula, February 28, 2017
In an effort to combat political spin, Terence and Jennifer Adderley, of Detroit, have established a $1 million endowment with the non-profit Citizens Research Council of Michigan to conduct public affairs research.


Funding squeeze could prompt Proposal A update
Crain’s Detroit Business, February 26, 2017
In addition, lawmakers could consider authorizing more local taxes, including local sales taxes; smoothing out annual declines in property values by using a multiyear average; and increasing municipalities’ tax caps, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Adderley Family Establishes $1M Endowment For Citizens Research Council
MIRS News, February 23, 2017
Terrence and Jennifer ADDERLEY have established a centennial endowment for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. The couple has committed $1 million to the endowment.


Citizens Research Foundation Endowment
Gongwer News Service, February 23, 2017
Terence and Jennifer Adderley have created a centennial endowment for the Citizens Research Council for Michigan and have committed $1 million to the endowment. The endowment was set up in tribute to the 100th anniversary of the organization which conducts research and analysis on a wide variety of public issues. – See more at: http://www.gongwer.com/programming/news.cfm?article_id=560370111#sthash.zuRucnLP.dpuf


School budget: more for at-risk, less for cyber/private kids
Traverse City Record Eagle, February 21, 2017
Craig Thiel, a senior research associate for the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said the governor’s proposals to differentiate funding — both through increased at-risk spending and a special allotment for high schools — are “significant.” He also said some entrepreneurial districts in particular have advertised their elective classes to private and home-schooled students to reduce budget deficits while other districts are not offering shared-time services.

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Trump’s immigration restrictions could hurt Michigan economy, experts say
MLive.com, January 31, 2017
But long term, the concern is whether Trump’s policies will have a “chilling” effect on efforts to rebuild Michigan’s economy by attracting entrepreneurs and well-educated workers from around the world, said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Here’s how Warren Mayor Jim Fouts can be removed from office
Detroit Free Press, January 25, 2017
Gov. Rick Snyder could remove an official from office, but Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan in Livonia, said the “ability of the governor to remove someone from office is really extraordinary … You need to have some clear indication that the official has abused power in some way and it’s criminal in nature.”


At raucous Warren council meeting, Fouts is denounced, defended
Detroit Free Press, January 24, 2017
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said the mayor could offer to resign or do so for health reasons. He said the “ability of the governor to remove someone from office is really extraordinary … You need to have some clear indication that the official has abused power in some way and it’s criminal in nature.”

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2017 Media Citations

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Michigan’s rainy day fund called insufficient for a downturn
Bond Buyer, December 29, 2017
Michigan’s rainy day fund wouldn’t last long if there was another economic downturn, according to a report from the Citizens Research Council.


The kill switch built in to Michigan’s Medicaid expansion law
Detroit Free Press, December 17, 2017
Guest Column


How to pay for special education is a growing concern across Michigan
Chalkbeat Detroit, December 8, 2017
Guest Column by Craig Thiel and Michigan State University Professor Sarah Reckhow


Michigan particularly vulnerable to federal budget cuts
Capital News Service, December 8, 2017
Leveraging federal dollars to support state programs generally makes sense. But acquiring so much money from the federal government has a dark side, said Craig Thiel, a research director with Citizens Research Council, a governmental policy research organization. What happens if it’s taken away?


Medicaid expansion has positive impacts on Michigan economy
The Peninsula, December 7, 2017
The 2014 federal expansion of Medicaid has had positive impacts on the Michigan economy, a Citizens Research Council of Michigan study found.


Healthy Michigan Has Been Beneficial To Whole State, Report Says
Gongwer News Service, December 5, 2017
Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program, Healthy Michigan, has kept health insurance premiums lower overall and has fostered health care innovation, particularly in terms social factors of health, but the legislation that enacted the program has a grave defect that could cost the state the overall benefit of the program, a report by the Citizens Research Council said.


Citizens Research Council of Michigan examines whether the state is ready for the next recession
WestSouthwest on WMUK, December 4, 2017
No one can say when the next recession will come, but eventually the economy will slow down. Citizens Research Council of Michigan president Eric Lupher discusses their report on the state’s rainy day fund,. He explains why it would only help get through a mild recession right now.

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Michigan’s got a savings problem
Detroit News, November 20, 2017
Guest Column


Snyder has steadied state finances, yet that may not be enough
Bridge Magazine, November 20, 2017
In a downturn, having money for a rainy day will be important because the general fund primarily consists of revenue from the state’s 4.25 percent income tax. Income tax revenue is the most sensitive to a recession because it’s directly tied to employment, said Craig Thiel, research director for the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. If fewer people are working, less money comes in.


Michigan lawmakers find it hard to save money
Michigan Radio, November 20, 2017
A recent report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council says Michigan is not ready for another recession. The report says lawmakers are short-changing the state’s savings-account, officially known as the Budget Stabilization Fund, but commonly referred to as the “rainy day” fund.


Week in Review: Rainy day fund worries and another LGBT bias decision delay
Michigan Radio, November 18, 2017
The state’s savings account wouldn’t last long if there was another economic downturn. That’s according to new analysis from the Citizens Research Council.


Despite Slow, Steady Economic Growth, Challenges Remain For State Budget
MIRS, November 17, 2017
Eric LUPHER, of the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan, then outlined his analysis of what that all means for the state budget. While slow by steady growth in the economy will translate to slow but steady growth in the state budget, Lupher said the majority of that money is already earmarked for special purposes. Of the state’s $56.5 billion overall budget for 2018, only about $10 billion of that, 18.4 percent, is available for discretionary spending as General Fund/General Purpose money.


Report Says State Government Short On Savings
Michigan Radio, November 16, 2017
Craig Theil is with the non-partisan Citizens Research Council. He says lawmakers tend to focus on boosting funding for services or cutting taxes when there’s a revenue windfall.


Troy voters to decide who should control sale of city land — council or residents
Detroit Free Press, November 6, 2017
In a larger sense, the ballot question speaks to a timeless issue that has forever swirled in democracies – just how much power voters should give to their elected representatives, said Eric Lupher, president of the nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a think tank in Livonia:
“We think there’s nothing wrong with having referendums and engaging citizens to make sure that their elected officials are representing their desires,” Lupher said.
“But this Troy question could bog down the actions of the government and the nonprofits that benefit from using the city’s public lands,” he said.


Charter schools’ mixed results
The [St. Joseph] Herald Palladium, November 5, 2018
A 2010 report done by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan found that nationwide, 17 percent of charter schools outperformed traditional schools, while 37 percent were significantly worse and 46 percent were about the same.


“Why Isn’t There More Information About Who’s Running for Office?”
WDET 101.9FM, November 4, 2017
Eric Lupher, executive director of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, has spent some time thinking about how such an undertaking could work in Michigan. The CRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group with offices in Livonia and Lansing, researches and analyzes public policy. Lupher has also wondered more about the people who make policy.


Governance structures impact tax questions
Detroit News, November 3, 2017
Guest article


Michigan’s driver responsibility fees: A cautionary tale of bad policy-making
Detroit Free Press, November 3, 2017
Snyder is right to be wary of a roughly $30 million hit to the state budget, already thin thanks to business tax cuts ladled out by Snyder in his first term, existing tax incentives state government must make good on and a terrible road-repair deal that will siphon dollars from the state’s main bank account. In fact, we’re headed for another shortfall — a $2 billion to $5 billion budget hole by 2020, the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council warns.

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Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson Recaps Mayoral Debate
Detroit Today on WDET, October 26, 2017
Eric Lupher of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan also joins the show to share his thoughts about the debate.



This bill would give charter schools a cut of millage revenue. Here’s what you need to know.

Stateside on Michigan Radio, October 23, 2017
Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan says otherwise.
“As I read it – and I’m not a practicing attorney, I’m a public policy guy – I can’t see where this only applies to renewals or new millages,” Thiel said. “It appears that the language is written that the next time the revenue is collected, and if this law were put on the books, the distribution would change and the charters would take a piece of the existing millages.”


The Pizza And Prizes Michigan Schools Use To Lure Students On Count Day Are ‘Unfortunate.’ But Is There A Better Way?
Daily Detroit, October 8, 2017
Michigan began relying on Count Day when it changed to a per-pupil funding system more than 20 years ago. But the day has become more crucial in recent years as the state’s shrinking school-age population has forced districts to aggressively compete for students, said Craig Thiel, research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Reining in ‘special authorities’ that don’t represent the people
Bridge Magazine, October 5, 2017
Guest article by Eric Lupher


Michigan hired Rick Snyder to fix the budget. That’s not going so well.
Detroit Free Press, October 1, 2017
Michigan’s facing a $2-billion shortfall in its $10 billion general fund by 2022, an analysis by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council found, thanks to outstanding tax credits offered to businesses, and an ill-advised deal to repair the state’s roads that relies on future revenue growth, which isn’t happening.

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White anger spurred by us not acting like ‘acceptable blacks’
Detroit Free Press, September 29, 2017
The question came up during a panel discussion at the annual Citizens Research Council dinner at Michigan State University on Wednesday evening. “When will we be able to stop talking about race?”


Commentary on the mayoral recall: why your ballot will be different
East Village Magazine, September 28, 2017
This gave Michigan one of the highest number of recall attempts in the nation. Though many were not successful, it meant that local officials were frequently tied up in recall elections for much of their time in office. Michigan’s recalls surpassed other states by a good margin. A report by the Citizens Research Council indicated that between 2000 and 2011, 457 state and local officials faced recalls in the state. For that time period, the average number of recalls in Michigan was 38 per year. California’s average was a distant second with only 18. In 2011, by one calculation, nearly a third of Michigan’s 148 lawmakers faced the threat of recall campaign, though only one actually went before the voters. Another report indicated that nearly 700 petitions for recall were filed in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties between 2005 and 2010, though most didn’t get to the ballot stage. Since the passage of the law in 2012 the number of recalls has dropped dramatically.


Eric Lupher – Citizens Research Council President talks with guest host Fox 2 News’ M.L. Elrick
WJR 760 AM, September 27, 2017
Citizens Research Council President Eric Lupher talks about the Annual Dinner and the work of the Research Council.


Op-Ed Appointment vs. direct election
White Lake Beacon, September 27, 2017
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan’s newest report questions whether the legislatively-created governance structure of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) played a role in its failure to gain voter support for the RTA’s November 2016 millage request. The underlying question – should single-purpose special authorities be treated similar to general purpose local governments to ensure representative governance and accountability to taxpayers?


Citizens Research Council of Michigan report questions Regional Transportation Authority
The Peninsula, September 25, 2017
The Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan recently released a report that calls into question the legitimacy of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) under the principle of one person, one vote.


Snyder, Schuette Flint tensions flare at confab
Detroit News, September 25, 2017
He downplayed a report from the non-partisan Citizens Research Council highlighting $2 billion to $5 billion in budget diversions Michigan could see by fiscal year 2022.


Benton Harbor city income tax poses pros, cons
Herald Palladium, September 24, 2017
Not much has changed in city income tax law, said Eric Lupher, president of Citizens Research Council, an independent research organization.


Are we in for a state budget crisis?
MiWeek on Detroit Public Television, September 21, 2017
MiWeek host Christie McDonald interviews Citizens Research Council President Eric Lupher about our Challenges Ahead in Balancing the State Budget report. (starts at 8:45 into the show)


Part-Time Legislature Plan Called ‘Campaign Stunt’ At Panel Discussion
MIRS, September 21, 2017
He was speaking today along with Jordon NEWTON, of the Citizens Research Council (CRC), and Ed SARPOLUS, president of the polling firm Target Insyght, in a panel discussion taking an in-depth look at the proposed constitutional amendment to make Michigan’s legislature part-time. The discussion was hosted at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce offices in Lansing, along with the CRC and MIRS before a crowd of about 75. (subscription required)


Regional Government Raises Questions, CRC Says In Report
Gongwer News Service, September 21, 2017
While regional governments are few in Michigan, their existence has raised questions on how they should be structured and how they should legally be authorized to exercise policy, the Citizens Research Council said in a report released Thursday. (subscription required)


Bill Schuette panders in bid for governor, where Michigan needs cold reality
Detroit Free Press, September 17, 2017
If we do nothing in Michigan over the next five years — no tax decreases or increases — the Citizens Research Council reports that we’ll have a $2-billion structural deficit in the state. That’s because of a combination of tax cuts already in place ($800 million of them under Gov. Rick Snyder alone), slow growth of our tax base, plus an unwieldy hangover from the tax credits extended to businesses during the administration of Gov. Jennifer Granholm.


Politics in Michigan
MiWeek on Detroit Public Television, September 14, 2017
Detroit Free Press Editorial Director Stephen Henderson discusses the Citizens Research Council’s Challenges Ahead in Balancing the State Budget report relative to gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette’s desire to cut the state income tax. (mentioned at 9:30 into the show)


Vitti: Detroit’s public school system won’t have teacher shortage next year
Michigan Radio, September 14, 2017
Vitti spoke to a capacity crowd at an event in Detroit sponsored by the Citizen’s Research Council.


Public investment is vital to Michigan
Traverse City Record-Eagle, September 12, 2017
Michigan’s experience over the last 20 years provides ample evidence that cutting taxes is not a way to increase state prosperity. In 1993, per capita Michigan taxes (state and local combined) per capita were 3 percent above the national average, and the state’s per capita income was 3 percent below the national average. In 2004, the state’s per capita taxes had fallen below the national average by 3 percent, but we had fallen even farther behind the nation in per capita income, trailing the nation by 6 percent. And in 2013 (the last year for which tax data is available) the state was 12 percent below the national average in taxes per capita and 12 percent below the national average in per capita income. (The tax data comes from a 2013 Tax Revenue Comparisons: Michigan and the U.S. Average report by the Citizens Research Council.)

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Legislators consider bucking Snyder on tax break
Detroit News, August 25, 2017
A recent report by the non-partisan Citizens Research Council highlighted several challenges that lie ahead for the Michigan budget, including previously approved tax credits and other promises that will divert about $2 billion a year in state revenue.


See which Michigan cities have a local income tax as two more consider the idea
MLive.com, August 20, 2017
According to a 2013 report from the nonprofit organization Citizens Research Council, the local income tax base includes compensation and other forms of income from residents, income earned while working in the city from non-residents and the total income earned in a city from corporations.


What to know about Michigan’s 2018 ballot drives
AP.com, August 19, 2017
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, a potential Republican gubernatorial candidate, is spearheading a constitutional amendment to make the Legislature a part-time body. It would require lawmakers to adjourn their regular session by April 15 of each year, slashing their pay from about $72,000 to an amount equaling half of the average teacher’s salary — roughly $32,000 based on 2015-16 data compiled by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council.


Michigan says it can manage fiscal strains outlined in a report
Bond Buyer, August 15, 2017
The report from the Citizens Research Council, a 101-year-old not-for-profit public affairs research organization, projects that the state’s $10 billion general fund could see a decrease by more than $2 billion by 2022 on the back of tax cuts, increased road construction, past economic development incentives and other factors.


Dealing with the state budget deficit
The Alpena News, August 14, 2017
The Michigan Citizens Research Council with a storied and honorable non-partisan history of diving into complex issues for decades fired-off the first warning shot with its recent analysis of Michigan’s budget.


Michigan’s Troubling Budget Future
WestSouthwest on WMUK, August 14, 2017
Citizens Research Council of Michigan President Eric Lupher says a 20% reduction in a budget of $10-billion can sound kind of abstract. But he says it helps to think about what that money is spent on in Michigan.


Public service loan forgiveness can help fix the shortage of primary care and rural physicians
STAT, August 12, 2017
Echoing findings across the country about the growing shortage of primary care physicians in rural areas across the country, a 2015 study by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan found that physician shortages in at least one primary care field existed in three out of every four Michigan counties.


Trouble ahead for the Michigan budget
Detroit Free Press, August 12, 2017
A new report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council is forecasting big economic trouble for Michigan, a $2-billion hole baked into the state budget, scheduled to hit by 2022.


Karen Spranger: Agent of change or simply unqualified to hold Macomb clerk’s job?
Detroit Free Press, August 10, 2017
For the governor to remove an elected official, that usually rises to the level of corruption or misfeasance or malfeasance, said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan in Livonia.


Republicans aren’t leading
Detroit Free Press, August 9, 2017
The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan says that there will be a net $2-billion reduction in the State’s general fund in just over four years. Republicans are squandering their chance to truly lead, on the state as well as the national level. The result of Republican governance in Michigan appears to be financial disaster, along with callous disregard of the true needs of our state.


The bill for tax breaks could be coming due
WLNS, August 8, 2017
According to the Michigan Citizens Research Council the fixed costs for tax cuts are substantial.


CRC ‘Not Sure Government Can Function’ Without Income Tax Revenue
MIRS Capitol Capsule, August 8, 2017
But the Michigan Citizens Research Council (CRC) doesn’t think such a venture is realistic. CRC Research Director Craig THIEL recently published a report that showed tax credits and promises made by previous legislatures will begin costing the state $2 billion a year.


MI Doctors Group: More Primary Care Physicians Needed
News/Talk 94.9 WSJM, August 7, 2017
Because of an aging population, retiring physicians and Medicaid and private insurance expansion, Michigan may need 12% more primary care physicians by 2030, according to a report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Report: Michigan to face $2 billion budget squeeze in general fund
Crain’s Detroit Business, August 7, 2017
Tax cuts, increased road construction, past economic development incentives and other factors will combine to reduce or divert state revenue by $2 billion annually in just over four years — the equivalent of 20 percent of Michigan’s general fund account.
That’s a key takeaway from a report issued this past week by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. It says while the state is rebounding from two major recessions, budget turbulence is ahead due to policy choices in Lansing.


Report: Michigan to face $2B budget squeeze in general fund
AP.com, August 5, 2017
Tax cuts, increased road construction, past economic development incentives and other factors will combine to reduce or divert state revenue by $2 billion annually in just over four years — the equivalent of 20 percent of Michigan’s general fund account.
That’s a key takeaway from a report issued this past week by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. It says while the state is rebounding from two major recessions, budget turbulence is ahead due to policy choices in Lansing.


Political roundup: New report predicts $2 billion shortfall in Michigan’s general fund
Michigan Radio, August 4, 2017
Not much is happening with Michigan’s legislature. They’re out of session for much of August. But a state budget of more than $56 billion dollars was passed on time this year.
A recent report from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan indicates that the $10 billion general fund — the only part of the budget the Legislature can influence — will be hit hard in the next few years general fund obligations grow.


New report predicts $2 billion shortfall in Michigan’s general fund
Stateside on Michigan Radio, August 4, 2017
Not much is happening with Michigan’s legislature. They’re out of session for much of August. But a state budget of more than $56 billion dollars was passed on time this year.
A recent report from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan indicates that the $10 billion general fund — the only part of the budget the Legislature can influence — will be hit hard in the next few years general fund obligations grow.


Off the Record
Public Television, August 4, 2017
Our report on Michigan’s budget challenges was mentioned today on “Off the Record.” (At the 11:38 minute mark)


Clouds form on the horizon for Michigan’s finances
Michigan Radio, August 2, 2017
But what really caught my attention was this: The Citizens’ Research Council of Michigan is a vastly respected, non-partisan agency that has been around for a century. And yesterday it released a study euphemistically called “Challenges Ahead in Balancing the State Budget.” I would have called it, “We are living on the side of the mountain, and the avalanche is about to start.”


CRC: Dark Storms Gathering Over State’s General Fund
MIRS Capitol Capsule, August 1, 2017
State lawmakers will be forced to deal with the committed diversion of between 20 and 45 percent of the state’s General Fund in the not too distant future, according to a new report by the Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan.


Report: $2B Problem Barreling Toward State Budget
Gongwer Michigan Report, August 1, 2017
With diversions from the General Fund and potential cuts at the federal level, the Legislature could be forced to make some tough choices with no new revenue sources expected, particularly if the state suffers another economic downturn, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan said in a report released Tuesday.


Despite economic growth, Michigan budget to face steep challenges
Bridge Magazine, August 1, 2017
The $56.5 billion total spending plan, which takes effect October 1, includes $10.0 billion in appropriations from the state’s discretionary General Fund checkbook, about the same amount authorized in the current year. While budget deliberations this year centered around maintaining current spending levels or marginally increasing funding in specific areas (e.g., all levels of education), a new report by our group, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, shows that a number of decisions made by previous legislatures will muddy the waters, making the challenge of balancing the state budget much more difficult in future years.

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No women meant no health care bill
Sport News City, July 25, 2017
Timothy Michling, a research associate with the nonpartisan nonprofit Citizens Research Council of MI, said although the program has been running smoothly so far, it would be hard for the state to make many tweaks or updates to status quo without knowing whether the federal Medicaid expansion will remain.


These 6 themes emerged when we asked Michigan teachers about their pay
Michigan Radio, July 25, 2017
This type of quote came up a lot in our teacher survey, so I called up Craig Thiel at the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan to have him walk me through the details.


Uncertainty over future of federal health care laws felt in Michigan
MLive.com, July 21, 2017
Timothy Michling, a research associate with the nonpartisan nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said although the program has been running smoothly so far, it would be difficult for the state to make many tweaks or updates to status quo without knowing whether the federal Medicaid expansion will remain.


Vitti should keep charter door open
Detroit News, July 14, 2017
It’s true that the Detroit district is operating too many facilities. A recent Citizens Research Council of Michigan report highlights how big a problem this is for the district’s bottom line.
The report finds that 35 K-8 schools are only at 50-75 percent enrollment capacity. And 29 K-8 schools are between 25-50 percent full. Seven high schools are at less than 25 percent capacity.


Addressing the doctor shortage: More than 1,500 medical residents complete training in Michigan
Crain’s Detroit Business, July 3, 2017
Because of an aging population, retiring physicians and Medicaid and private insurance expansion, Michigan may need 12 percent more primary care physicians by 2030 than the 16,200 it currently has, according to a 2015 report by the Citizen Research Council of Michigan.

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Disincorporation debate
Grand Haven Tribune, June 20, 2017
The two-hour event was moderated by Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit, nonpartisian organization that has helped other municipalities explore mergers and disincorporation.


Should village of Spring Lake disincorporate?
WOOD-TV, June 19, 2017
The meeting was run by Eric Lupher, the president of Citizens Research of Michigan. He started the meeting by getting a feel for the room by using text message polling. About 80 percent of those who participated in the poll were village residents. Eighty percent also said they would vote against disincorporation if asked to cast their ballots immediately.


Civic, business leaders emphasize urban agenda at Mackinac Policy Conference
MiBiz.com, June 12, 2017
Historically speaking, about 60 percent of revenue raised by the state was distributed to local units of governments, according to a 2012 study by Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a Lansing-based nonpartisan research group.


Detroit Schools Finances: How’s the New District Doing?
WDET Public Radio, June 9, 2017
In its first fiscal year of existence, the Detroit Public Schools Community District is projected to finish with a $64 million surplus in its roughly $654 million budget, according to a new report from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Detroit Public Schools Out Of The Fire, Not The Woods
MIRS News Service, June 6, 2017
The new Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) has been rescued from the fire, but still is not out of the woods, according to a Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan analyst.

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The 3 biggest challenges for new superintendent of Detroit schools
Detroit Free Press, May 31, 2017
Citizens Research Council op-ed


Calley announces ballot drive for part-time Legislature
AP.com, May 31, 2017
Their annual pay would be slashed from about $72,000 to an amount equaling about half of the average teacher’s salary — roughly $32,000 based on 2015-16 data compiled by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council.


A study guide for Detroit’s new superintendent
WCHB FM, May 30, 2017
Dr. Nikolai Vitti just began his tenure as superintendent of the “new” Detroit Public Schools Community District, the state’s largest school district. While school soon will be out for summer for students, Dr. Vitti’s school year is just beginning. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has just issued its “Progress Report on Detroit Public Schools Community District Finances” that gives him a timely study guide to the critical issues that need to be addressed to keep the district financially sound.


Looming Financial Threats Could Undermine ‘Fresh’ Start For New Detroit District, Says Report
Daily Detroit, May 28, 2017
The report, from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, notes that almost a third of the district’s $64 million surplus is the cost savings from more than 200 vacant teaching positions.


Michigan Teachers Are the Nation’s Highest Paid
Michigan Capitol Confidential, May 22, 2017
Using that type of analysis, a study from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan found that Michigan public school teachers are the highest paid in the nation when salaries are compared to average incomes in the state where they serve.


Pooling resources could help local governments afford services
Michigan Radio, May 5, 2017
A research group has been looking at ways local governments might band together to save money, since money is short.
Eric Lupher is president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. The report he just published is titled, “Counties in Michigan: An exercise in regional government.”

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Municipalities’ fiscal outlook is gloomy despite economy
AP Story, April 22, 2017
Despite continued job growth and record auto sales, the state’s per-capita personal income lags the national average after a long-lasting downturn. Taxable values of property — which largely determine revenue for local governments — are below peak levels in 85 percent of municipalities, according to the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council. And their other major revenue source, state aid, is down 20 percent from 15 years ago.


State Pre-Funding Its Own OPEB Liability Between 27.5%, 0%
MIRS News, April 18, 2017
Although some of those numbers may look like a retirement system is weak, the system that ought to be of the most concern is the teacher retirement system, said Craig THIEL, senior research associate for the Citizens Research Council.
“In terms of the potential for creating serious financial problems, the teachers’ one is the one you have look at just because of the sheer size and scale. That is the one that is most threatening to the viability of school districts and the state,” he said.


Is It Time For A New Local Government Structure?
West Southwest show on WMUK Public Radio, April 17, 2017
Citizens Research Council of Michigan President Eric Lupher says there’s little appetite for eliminating local units of government in Michigan. But he says there is still a chance for reforming government services.


Town hall connects residents with legislators
Hometownlife Newspapers, April 14, 2017
Pagan and Dingell were joined by Ezinne Ndukwe, a health care analyst for the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, and Timothy Michling, a research associate with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization committed to improving health and informing policy based on facts.


Michigan’s no-fault system broken
Detroit News, April 4, 2017
Finally, the third: Reduce medical costs and insurance premiums by allowing auto insurers to negotiate the best rate for their customers, just like other insurance companies can. Currently, auto insurance companies often pay 200 to 300 percent more for the same procedure as health insurance companies. That’s because health insurance companies can negotiate rates, but a loophole in state law makes it nearly impossible for auto insurance companies to do the same. This can lead to medical care providers ordering and charging for tests and procedures that may provide little or no health value to the patient, according to a report issued by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

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Taking a hammer to how Michigan cities are funded
Traverse City Record-Eagle, March 31, 2017
This analysis is confirmed by a Citizens Research Council of Michigan report issued in December that examined changes in local tax bases statewide. Like Bridge, our analysis started by comparing today’s property tax base to the levels local governments taxed before the most recent recession. Similarly, we found that 85.0 percent of these local units have 2016 taxable values below what they had in at their inflation-adjusted peaks.


Make school budget work for all kids
Detroit News, March 30, 2017
A work group that studied shared time for the state Education Department found 303 districts participate, and nearly 86,000 students benefit from these courses. Craig Thiel, senior research associate at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, says the courts have settled the legality of shared time, and that it’s been a boon for districts.


CRC Report Suggests Counties Could Take On More Of Locals’ Services
MIRS News Service, March 29, 2017
A Citizens Research Council (CRC) report suggested shifting more services from locals to the county level could help cities, villages and townships balance their budgets and better serve their residents.


Taking a hammer, not a scalpel, to how Michigan cities are funded
Bridge Magazine, March 23, 2017
Guest Column


Groups sue to stop public funds for private schools
Detroit News, March 21, 2017
The provision dates back to the 1850 state Constitution and remained in the current version adopted in 1963, said Craig Thiel, president of the non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.
Courts usually have held that “the Legislature is the final arbiter on what is and what is not a private purpose,” Thiel said, “and in this case the Legislature went out of their way to say it’s their intention that the money is serving a larger public good.”


Michigan Already Awash in Business Subsidies
Mackinac Center blog, March 16, 2017
The Citizens Research Council gives a list and description of the economic development programs available to businesses in Michigan. It lists 53 programs offered by the state, local and federal governments. The report is 166 pages long. Some of the programs mentioned are no longer handing out awards, but most are.


State should treasure education, fund it
[Escanaba] Daily Press, March 9, 2017
The October 2014 Citizens Research Council of Michigan Memo noted, “…Overall, the School Aid Fund shouldered a significant amount of the net $1.8 billion business tax cut portion of the tax reform package.”

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Auto insurers support D-Insurance
Detroit News, February 28, 2017
A 2013 study on the medical costs of no-fault insurance conducted by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a non-partisan, independent research organization, found medical providers in Michigan charge more for care related to car accidents than other states — almost 25 percent more. The CRC also found that no check on providers existed to keep them from ordering or charging more for services that may not actually help the patient. No-fault reform would begin to fix that.


Adderley family creates $1 million endowment for Citizens Research Council of Michigan
The Peninsula, February 28, 2017
In an effort to combat political spin, Terence and Jennifer Adderley, of Detroit, have established a $1 million endowment with the non-profit Citizens Research Council of Michigan to conduct public affairs research.


Funding squeeze could prompt Proposal A update
Crain’s Detroit Business, February 26, 2017
In addition, lawmakers could consider authorizing more local taxes, including local sales taxes; smoothing out annual declines in property values by using a multiyear average; and increasing municipalities’ tax caps, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Adderley Family Establishes $1M Endowment For Citizens Research Council
MIRS News, February 23, 2017
Terrence and Jennifer ADDERLEY have established a centennial endowment for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. The couple has committed $1 million to the endowment.


Citizens Research Foundation Endowment
Gongwer News Service, February 23, 2017
Terence and Jennifer Adderley have created a centennial endowment for the Citizens Research Council for Michigan and have committed $1 million to the endowment. The endowment was set up in tribute to the 100th anniversary of the organization which conducts research and analysis on a wide variety of public issues. – See more at: http://www.gongwer.com/programming/news.cfm?article_id=560370111#sthash.zuRucnLP.dpuf


School budget: more for at-risk, less for cyber/private kids
Traverse City Record Eagle, February 21, 2017
Craig Thiel, a senior research associate for the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said the governor’s proposals to differentiate funding — both through increased at-risk spending and a special allotment for high schools — are “significant.” He also said some entrepreneurial districts in particular have advertised their elective classes to private and home-schooled students to reduce budget deficits while other districts are not offering shared-time services.

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Trump’s immigration restrictions could hurt Michigan economy, experts say
MLive.com, January 31, 2017
But long term, the concern is whether Trump’s policies will have a “chilling” effect on efforts to rebuild Michigan’s economy by attracting entrepreneurs and well-educated workers from around the world, said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Here’s how Warren Mayor Jim Fouts can be removed from office
Detroit Free Press, January 25, 2017
Gov. Rick Snyder could remove an official from office, but Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan in Livonia, said the “ability of the governor to remove someone from office is really extraordinary … You need to have some clear indication that the official has abused power in some way and it’s criminal in nature.”


At raucous Warren council meeting, Fouts is denounced, defended
Detroit Free Press, January 24, 2017
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said the mayor could offer to resign or do so for health reasons. He said the “ability of the governor to remove someone from office is really extraordinary … You need to have some clear indication that the official has abused power in some way and it’s criminal in nature.”

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