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October 14, 2019

2019 Media Citations

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Who’s leading classes? Uncertified teachers for thousands of Michigan kids
Bridge Magazine, October 10, 2019
So far this year, districts have asked for 1,138 permits for long-term subs. Last year at the same time, districts had requested about 1,000 permits, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a Livonia-based nonpartisan research firm.

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Majority of Michigan public schools started school year short on teachers
Bridge Magazine, September 26, 2019
Fewer college students are going in to teaching. Enrollment in teacher prep programs at Michigan universities dropped 66 percent over seven years between 2009 and 2016. While overall, there are enough students graduating from Michigan’s university-based teaching programs to replace teachers who retire and quit, they are not evenly distributed geographically or by teaching specialty, according to a report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Study: Local tax changes could help fix Michigan’s roads
Michigan Advance, September 4, 2019
Local taxation may be the answer to “fixing the damn roads,” according to a new paper from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan.


ix damn roads with a damn simple deal
Detroit News, September 4, 2019
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan offered up some ideas on alternative road funding options that could help break the impasse.


Equip local governments to fix county roads
Detroit News, September 3, 2019
Column by Eric Lupher

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Budget talks breaking down between Whitmer, GOP leaders
Michigan Advance, August 28, 2019
But Eric Lupher, a long-time policy observer and the president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said that Whitmer’s goal of tying roads to the budget was “artificial” and “had the effect of attempting to hold legislator’s feet to the fire to try to enact road funding reform.”


Whitmer calls on Republican lawmakers to reveal their plan for fixing Michigan roads
Detroit Free Press, August 28, 2019
Of the $840 million in sales tax now collected at the pump, $627 million goes to the School Aid Fund and $81.3 million goes to local governments, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Public pensions for Michigan’s largest cities $5.5 billion underfunded
The Center Square, August 20, 2019
Citizens Research Council of Michigan Research Director Craig Thiel told The Center Square the state is obligated by law to honor its pension promises.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Many communities opt out of medical marijuana business, for now
MiBiz, August 18, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council, agrees that local governments are “putting up fences at this point, thinking it’s easier to take them down than to allow businesses to come in and decide at some point in the future they made a wrong decision. It’s going to be easier to change from restrictive to permissive than to go the other direction.”


Dissolving Benton Harbor schools may be best option
Detroit News, August 13, 2019
Now, Benton Harbor could also face dissolution under the law, says Craig Thiel, research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Thiel says the district “clearly” meets the threshold necessary to trigger a dissolution. For example, he notes the district has operated with budget deficits since the mid-2000s. Similarly, enrollment has fallen 45% since 2009.


Future remains unclear for Benton Harbor students
Detroit News, August 12, 2019
Craig Thiel, director of research with the Citizens Research Council, a public affairs research organization, said without an approved financial plan, the district will have to start using its existing funds to pay down old emergency loans during the upcoming school year, which means money intended for instruction, teacher salaries and classroom supplies could be diverted.


An Up North charter is 44 percent subs. You can’t tell difference, supt. says
Bridge Magazine, August 7, 2019
Enrollment in teacher prep programs at Michigan universities dropped 66 percent over seven years, between 2009 and 2016. While overall, there are enough teachers graduating from Michigan’s university-based teaching programs to replace teachers who retire and quit, they are not evenly distributed geographically or by teaching specialty, according to a report by the Citizens Research Council.


Michigan leans on long-term substitutes as its schools struggle
Bridge Magazine, August 7, 2019
Bridge analyzed data received from the Office of Educator Excellence through a Freedom of Information Act request. Bridge combined three categories of substitute permits that districts request from MDE – full-year basic, full-year shortage and extended daily – to provide a more complete representation of the number of classrooms headed by substitutes for an extended period of time. That methodology was endorsed by Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan public policy research organization.


A deadlocked board
Inside Higher Education, August 7, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, echoed this point, saying that appointed boards give governors the option to work in tandem with universities to determine what kind of person the board needs to help fill in experience gaps.


Bloomfield Township wants higher taxes to pay for optional employment benefit
Oakland Press, August 4, 2019
Instead of addressing these costs, the township wants to tax their way out of this problem. They’re already at maximum millage amounts and it is questionable whether these special assessments can be used for this purpose. Special assessments are typically meant to be used only for a portion of a local government’s jurisdiction and are enacted to pay for structures that directly impact that portion. Special assessments to build, say, a sidewalk, would only be applied to land with the sidewalk and assessed based on how much sidewalk goes adjoins a property. But these assessments on the entire government for general services already exist in a number of other places, as the Citizens Research Council notes.


Why fixing the damn roads is so damn hard
Michigan Advance, August 2, 2019
“Clearly [Snyder and the Legislature] did us a disservice by doing half a job and doing it poorly in 2015,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “Actions like that just breed cynicism.”

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Locals Claim A Win As Court Ruling’s Impact On State Funding Reviewed
Gongwer, July 31, 2019
Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which consulted with the plaintiffs, said the case “could have been a big budget-buster.” However, Mr. Thiel said in the 2017-18 fiscal year, the state was at 55 percent of total state spending paid to local governments, well above the 48.97 percent floor. By Mr. Thiel’s calculations, pulling the funding the state appropriated to schools for the Durant and Adair cases, where the courts ordered the state to spend additional money to comply with Headlee’s prohibition on unfunded mandates, the state would still be above the threshold.


Court: Michigan shortchanged cities for years. But windfall isn’t certain.
Bridge Magazine, July 31, 2019
And unless the case goes to the Michigan Supreme Court and its justices give communities a clear victory, it’s not yet clear whether the state would have to pay more, said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Michigan Republicans sue to stop redistricting commission before it starts
Bridge Magazine, July 31, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, agreed that the suit filed Tuesday addresses a different question than the recent federal gerrymandering cases in North Carolina and Maryland.


Benton Harbor school officials want four years to improve high schools
Detroit News, July 26, 2019
Craig Thiel, director of research with the Citizens Research Council, said this is the first time the board is asking the state to split responsibility for the accumulated debt.


AG’s office: Whitmer lacks authority to close Benton Harbor schools
Detroit News, July 23, 2019
Craig Thiel, research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said it appears both sides are at an impasse over the district’s financial crisis.


Will Michigan’s Supreme Court rescue wages … and the law?
Detroit Free Press, July 17, 2019
Just last month, Michigan’s Constitution turned 56. During that half-century, there have been just 34 amendments to it, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, perhaps an indication that this document generally has bipartisan support as our state’s legal foundation. Alabama and Texas, for example, have amended their state constitutions 909 and 498 times respectively.


Republican ideas to fund Michigan road repairs taking shape over summer
Bridge Magazine, July 15, 2019
Michigan is one of the most restrictive states when it comes to giving local governments the option to levy their own taxes, according to the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Currently, property tax is its primary funding source, though it has proven to be problematic during the past decade because property values have not rebounded as fast as they collapsed during the Great Recession, limiting how much revenue communities can collect.


Whitmer, Republicans remain at odds over using pension bonds to fix roads
Michigan Advance, July 11, 2019
According to Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, navigating those waters skillfully is key to the success or failure of such a bond.


Back to the drawing board?
With Benton Harbor’s rejection of state plan, the way forward is unclear

St. Joseph Herald-Palladium, July 4, 2019
A third option is for the governor to declare the school district to be in a financial emergency, requiring the district to choose one of the four options under Public Act 436 of 2012 – commonly called the emergency manager law, said Craig Thiel, education research director with Citizens Research Council in Michigan.


Benton Harbor rejects Whitmer’s deal to keep high school open
Michigan Advance, July 3, 2019
Craig Thiel, research director with the nonpartisan think tank Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said that the state’s benchmark goals would likely need “more meat” to be successful, and concurred that one year of reform is unlikely to result in much change.


Michigan court ruling opens door to retiree healthcare cuts
Bond Buyer, July 2, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council, a not-for-profit public affairs research organization, said that although Macomb officials have said they do not intend to reduce retiree healthcare coverage, the ruling means they aren’t “hamstrung on OPEB the way they are on pensions.” The county has publicly signaled that it has no plans to lower its unfunded OPEB liabilities via benefit reductions.

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Supreme Court kills Michigan gerrymandering challenge, upends 2020 redistricting order
Detroit News, June 28, 2019
“There are some state senators breathing a little easier this morning, and I guess the State Board of Elections,” said Eric Lupher, president of the non-partisan Citizens Research Council. “Now they don’t have to worry about how to figure all this stuff out.”


What the U.S. Supreme Court gerrymandering ruling means for Michigan
Bridge Magazine, June 27, 2019
“It’s the status quo through the next election,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Citizenship question on census unlikely to change Michigan congressional landscape
MLive.com, June 26, 2016
“The fear is every state will suffer an undercount because of the citizenship question,” said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “The fact that we have fewer immigrants on a proportional basis than other states suggests we have less to lose, but those immigrants that we do have are also the ones who have felt targeted with some of the words and actions of this administration.”


No distinction needed, ‘special assessments’ are taxes
Detroit News, June 20, 2019
Guest column by Eric Lupher


Flint, unemployment insurance, Headlee lawsuits cast shadow over state budget
Michigan Advance, June 16, 2019
“The hard part for a government … when you know these sort of lawsuits are out there, [is that] you need to budget for them,” said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council (CRC), a Livonia-based nonpartisan public affairs research group. “But when you budget for them, you’re sort of telegraphing a view that you may not win, and this is how much you’re willing to settle for.”


Poll: Strong support for graduated income tax
Michigan Advance, June 15, 2019
Naturally, “the devil is in the details” with regard to how much revenue the state might raise through a graduated income tax, according to Eric Lupher, president of the Livonia-based nonpartisan policy group Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC).


Whitmer faces some backlash over Benton Harbor High closing
Bridge Magazine, June 11, 2019
“The authority to dissolve districts under the School Code resides with the state superintendent and the treasurer,” Craig Thiel, research director for Citizens Research Council, said in an email to Bridge. “(There is a) lot of misinformation going around … Amazing that the State Board was led to believe it is the lawmakers call on dissolution.”


In Benton Harbor, a school crisis with racial overtones
Detroit News, June 10, 2019
Craig Thiel, director of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said Benton Harbor is a unique case because it’s the only Michigan school district under a consent agreement. That agreement goes away June 30 when the state reform office closes.


Have A $900M Hole To Fill? Sales Taxes On Services Could Yield $10.7B
MIRS, June 10, 2019
A Citizens Research Council (CRC) report from earlier this year put the amount of sales tax collected at the pump at $894 million.


P3s could help solve Michigan’s road-funding crisis
Crains Detroit Business, June 9, 2019
Despite this crisis, in 2015, Michigan ranked 42nd among states for road spending for every 10,000 vehicle miles traveled, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Group looks at state of U.P. roads
Escanaba Daily Press, June 7, 2019
Maloney was followed by Citizens Research Council of Michigan President Eric Lupher. Lupher discussed issues with Michigan’s gas tax


Michigan House GOP plans to replace sales tax on gasoline to fund roads
Bridge Magazine, June 7, 2019
The sales tax generates an estimated $894 million in annual revenue from gasoline sales. At least one independent analysis, from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, has considered the idea as a potential road-funding option.


Special assessments are a tax by another name
Bridge Magazine, June 7, 2019
Guest column


Financial, academic woes and a change in state law puts Benton Harbor high school at risk
Michigan Radio, June 6, 2019
Craig Thiel is research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. He breaks down how Benton Harbor High School ended up in this position, and the state’s track record on intervening in financially distressed and low-performing schools.


Will auto no-fault changes bring down insurance costs? Depends on who you are.
Michigan Radio, June 5, 2019
Eric Lupher is the president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. He says the Legislature moved so quickly on the changes to the law that insurance companies are still trying to understand the ramifications.


Benton Harbor residents vent to Whitmer about high school closure
Michigan Advance, June 5, 2019
A report earlier this year from the nonpartisan policy group Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC) examined those two closures, finding their impacts were largely mixed.


How downtown Detroit’s taxes work and who really pays them
Detroit Free Press, June 4, 2019
“The thing you have to keep in mind with Detroit that is different than most of the cities in Michigan is that the property tax constitutes a minor share of the total revenue picture,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan that periodically offers deep analyses of city and state finances.


West Michigan transit expansion gathers broad support
Michigan Advance, June 3, 2019
While construction on new platform stations along the route has been ongoing, the ceremonial groundbreaking on Monday comes just months after the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan released a report calling for a paradigm shift in how the state approaches transit needs.

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Good Public Policy and Private Investment for Rural Michigan
Dome Magazine, May 31, 2019
As Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan and well-respected Citizens Research Council of Michigan elucidates in his report, Lessons Learned While Studying Michigan’s Urban and Rural Communities, “The problems of Detroit, Flint, Muskegon and other older cities are well-documented and resources have been devoted to revitalizing their neighborhoods, attracting new businesses, and other economic development activities. Relative to those efforts, very few resources have been devoted to rural communities.”


Medical care, cost shift concerns loom as gov. expected to sign insurance reform bill
Michigan Advance, May 29, 2019
“Those costs are currently being borne by the insurance system and we’re paying them through higher insurance rates, so we’re going to pay it either way,” said Eric Lupher, the president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council in Livonia.


What the no-fault auto reform deal means for Michigan drivers
Bridge Magazine, May 24, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said it’s not clear how these changes will affect rates.


Michigan Attorney General: GOP limits on petition drives are unconstitutional
Bridge Magazine, May 22, 2019
“The Secretary of State is bound by that Attorney General opinion until a court says otherwise, or at some time a different Attorney General might see it a different way,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Why This Political Fight In Michigan Should Matter To Democrats Everywhere HuffPost.com, May 18, 2019
Nobody disputes that Michigan has skimped on road repair spending. By 2015, the state was spending $171 per person on roads, according to a report from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. That was barely half the spending level in Wisconsin, a state where the roads are subject to similar strains from climate and vehicle wear.


Michigan’s bridges are bad — and a fix could take nearly a century
Detroit Free Press, May 17, 2019
In 2015, Michigan ranked 42nd nationwide for road spending for every 10,000 vehicle miles traveled, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Spending has gotten more generous since, but we are still below the national average.


Whitmer, GOP leaders talking amid auto insurance impasse, veto threat
Detroit News, May 13, 2019
In most states, “you use your health insurance or Medicaid or whatever else it is in case of an accident, or you sue and get the other guy to pay for it,” said Eric Lupher, president of the non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan


Why Michigan auto insurance costs so much, and how to lower it
MLive.com, May 8, 2019
On the downside, that drives up premium costs: Accounting for both higher prices and higher usage, medical claims cost Michigan auto insurers 57 percent more than claims for similar crashes in other states, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan said in the 2013 study.


Michigan Republicans say car insurance reforms would slash premiums
Bridge Magazine, May 7, 2019
Those unique benefits are the reason Michigan’s rates are, by far, the highest in the nation, said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit that has offered non-partisan analysis of state issues, including auto insurance.


Michigan plan: Give more state school aid to students with more needs
Detroit News, May 6, 2019
But Craig Thiel, research director for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said Whitmer’s proposal is not a “true” weighted funding system and is not much different than how schools and students are funded today.

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Detroit schools face tough choices with too many repairs, not enough money
Detroit News, April 29, 2019
In Michigan, a 2005 report released by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan and The Education Policy Center at Michigan State University found that public schools had an $89 billion in unmet capital need and a quarter of this need was concentrated in five high-needs districts: Detroit, Battle Creek, Flint, Muskegon and Saginaw.


Michigan’s political districts illegally gerrymandered, court rules
Bridge Magazine, April 26, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council that has studied gerrymandering, said the evidence in the trial clearly showed Republicans worked to create districts to their advantage. Among others, emails from GOP staffers bragged about trying to “cram Dem garbage” in southeast Michigan districts and tweak borders to satisfy the “the obvious objective — putting dems in a dem district and reps in a gop district” and “increase the black population in the black districts.”


Michigan is obese, unhealthy and dying young. And that’s costing billions.
Bridge Magazine, April 24, 2019
“We’re cheating ourselves on how long we’re going to live,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which studied the state’s overall health in 2018. “It’s kind of the antithesis of ‘Pure Michigan.’”


MIDOCS places medical residents into underserved areas of Michigan
MiBiz.com, April 14, 2019
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan in June 2015 estimated that the state would need 12 percent more primary care physicians by 2030, or more than 1,900 above the 16,199 at the time. Across Michigan, 90 percent of 83 counties have at least a partial shortage in primary care physicians.

Whitmer’s road funding plan could pit Michigan cities against rural areas
Bridge Magazine, April 1, 2019
A recent report from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council argues the current formula doesn’t reflect the greatest road needs.


Michigan governor’s fiscal ideas would double-tax small businesses, critics charge
Watchdog.com, April 1, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said Whitmer’s budget proposals reflect the key priorities she campaigned on, including more funds for K-12 and higher education in the state.

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‘Broken’ no-fault system desperately needs reform
Crain’s Detroit Business, March 31, 2019
They’ve heard from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which penned a report on the medical costs associated with Michigan’s auto no-fault system. The CRC report found Michigan’s auto no-fault system fails to hold medical providers accountable, and that providers are “not prevented from, and may benefit in, ordering and charging for more services that may provide little, no or even negative health value to the patient.”


We’re not taking public transit seriously. In the future, we may have to.
Detroit Free Press, March 26, 2019
Guest Column by Eric Lupher


Public transit needs to be regional, integrated across political boundaries, study says
Michigan Radio, March 21, 2019
A recent report from the Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan said regional transit is key to economic development, revitalizing communities, reducing pollution and traffic congestion, improving residents’ mobility, and reducing stress on roads and parking infrastructure.


CRC: Transit Must Be Regional, Seamless
Gongwer News Service, March 20, 2019
To improve transit, Michigan must move to regional systems that integrate with each other and with private transportation, the Citizens Research Council said in a report issued Wednesday.


Two Generations of Levins Talk State of American Politics on Detroit Today
Detroit Today on WDET, March 21, 2019
Sen. Levin is joined on the program by Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, who is one of the lead organizers of the event.


Study suggests lack of public transit is costing Michigan jobs
UpNorthLive.com, March 21, 2019
A study from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan on public transportation looked at the issue of financing Michigan’s transit systems.


Revisit Michigan’s outdated road funding formula
Detroit News, March 21, 2019
“Public Act 51’s funding formula is subject to debate just as the gas tax is subject to debate,” says Craig Thiel, research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Does Whitmer’s roads plan raise $2.5B or $1.9B? Here’s why it matters
Michigan Advance, March 21, 2019
Eric Lupher, a longtime Michigan policy observer and president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, said that the different budget organizations do disagree from time to time, but called it the “exception, not the rule.”


Proposed repeal of Michigan ‘pension tax’ prompts fairness debate
Bridge Magazine, March 19, 2019
“Nobody’s wrong,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “It’s just, what’s your opinion on it?”


New teacher cadet program planned for Kent County students to combat shortage
MLive.com, March 11, 2019
Enrollment in teacher-prep programs in Michigan colleges and universities have seen steep enrollment declines – by 66 percent over a recent seven-year period, according to the February report “Michigan’s leaky teacher pipeline: Examining trends in teacher demand and supply,” from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Gas Tax Hike Might Not Even Address Calhoun County Road Needs
WBCK 95.3 FM, March 11, 2019
The idea comes from a report from the non-partisan Citizens Research Council. It found that rural systems have 69 percent of roads and 30 percent of road usage, but the upkeep cost per mile is considerably higher in urban areas.


Whitmer proposes new way to divvy up money for roadwork
Associated Press, March 10, 2019
The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council recently reported that rural systems have 69 percent of roads and 30 percent of road usage, but the upkeep cost per miles is way higher in urban areas where roads are more heavily used. The money for local road agencies is based on road miles, population and vehicle registrations — “rudimentary” measures that “do not begin to address funding to the highest levels of need,” according to the study.


Road Funding Debate Complicated by Urban-Rural Divide
WDET Public Radio, March 8, 2019
And, as the Citizens Research Council of Michigan writes — in a post on Act 51 that you should definitely read — “the distribution formulas reflect actual road utilization. This means a two-lane road is funded the same as a four- or six-lane road and that roads with the greatest utilization or those with the greatest need (i.e., in the worst shape) do not receive priority.”


Whitmer’s plan spends more on roads in metro areas
Michigan Advance, March 7, 2019
Since 1951, Michigan has traditionally used Public Act 51 as the primary mechanism for doling out state dollars for road repairs to local units of government. A recent report from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan points out that the act does not take into account road conditions or road usage, and tends to favor lesser-traveled, rural roads.


Road funding needs fundamental fix
Detroit News, March 7, 2019
Guest Column by Eric Lupher


Why does ‘fixing’ Michigan pensions stick it to workers?
Bridge Magazine, March 7, 2019
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan issued a report in July 2009 that notes that Social Security only amounts to 30 percent to 50 percent of pre-retirement income. Absent national health insurance, we can continue to expect health care costs to increase dramatically, while employers also seek to shift costs to employee/retirees. The report concludes that these “cost shifting” employer reductions in retirement benefits necessarily means future generations of elderly will be “poorer”. Most will also be forced to retire later.


Confused by road funding? What Gov. Whitmer’s plan would and wouldn’t do
MLive.com, March 6, 2019
And this has been going on for decades. Michigan recently hiked the gas tax as part of the 2015 road plan. But even after that, a Citizens Research Council report found collections, once adjusted for inflation, were two-thirds of what they were in 1975.


Whitmer to propose 45-cent per gallon gas tax increase to fix roads
UpNorthLive.com, March 5, 2019 “That $1.2 billion was a number that was low-balled in terms of the total need across all road systems. That was roughly equivalent to just the state’s needs for its systems, not counting the local needs,” Citizens Research Council of Michigan Research Director Craig Thiel said. “The longer you wait, the bigger the problem gets next year.”


Michigan’s Options for Fixing the Damn Roads
Detroit Today on WDET Public Radio, March 4, 2019
Eric Lupher is interviewed by Stephen Henderson


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to propose 45-cent hike in fuel tax to fund Michigan roads
Detroit Free Press, March 4, 2019
Michigan taxes on fuel are already fifth-highest in the nation, and about 18 cents per gallon above the national average, largely because Michigan is one of a few states that applies its sales tax to fuel, according to a recent study by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Michigan needs to fix roads, while state is $10B below Headlee tax limit
Michigan Advance, March 2, 2019
Eric Lupher, executive director of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council (CRC), said that roads are the state’s highest priority and they need to be addressed accordingly.


Here’s how money to fix the damn roads might be found
Crain’s Detroit Business, March 3, 2019
Guest column by Eric Lupher


Use fuel sales tax to fix roads
Detroit News, March 3, 2019
If anyone thinks “fixing the damn roads” will be easy, they should take a look at the new report from the Citizens Research Council, an independent think tank that examined the options for funding Michigan road repairs.


How teachers indoctrinated me
Detroit Free Press, March 1, 2019
Sneaky “losers” like these women and man burrow their thought doctrines into the unsuspecting minds of our youth, all while earning a salary that is not commensurate with their status as professionals and the enmity of critics like Trump Jr. Is it any wonder that, according to a recent report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, enrollment in teacher prep programs in Michigan dropped 66 percent between 2008 and 2015?


Talk Back: Pothole season: Roads need funding, but how?
Holland Sentinal, March 1, 2019
All of this comes as a new Citizens Research Council report predicts only half the state’s roads will be in good or fair condition by 2025 and that even with the inflationary increases built into the 2015 gas tax plan, Michigan will continue to lose ground. But 250 miles to the south, it’s a far different story.

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Report: Gasoline Tax Must Rise Faster Than Inflation To Maintain Funding
Gongwer News, February 27, 2019
As anticipation builds for Governor Gretchen Whitmer to unveil her plan next week on how she will find $2 billion more for roads, there’s been considerable discussion about one of the usual sources for road funding – the gasoline tax. But the report from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan quantified the long-term vulnerabilities of relying on the gasoline tax, now at 26.3 cents per gallon.


CRC: Despite 2015 Package, State Will Be ‘Plagued’ With Poor Roads
MIRS News, February 27, 2019
As if your drive into the office today wasn’t jarring enough, the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan has this tidbit: Even with the 2015 road funding package that phased in $1.2 billion more for the roads, only half of the state’s roads will be in good or fair condition by 2025. That’s down from 77 percent last year.


Eric Lupher, President of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan
Guy Gordon on WJR 760 AM, February 26, 2019
Eric Lupher talks about new ways to fund the Michigan road problem with Guy Gordon.


Stateside: Gas tax and road funds; scrutiny of Detroit demolitions; lost black Lansing neighborhood
Stateside on Michigan Radio, February 26, 2019
It’s true, Michigan’s roads are bad and getting worse. Within six years, the number of roads considered “fair” or “good” condition will drop below the 50-percent mark. Lawmakers passed a $1.2 billion road funding package that is still short of what’s needed to get Michigan roads up to at least “fair” condition. Today, the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan released its recommendation for road-funding options. President of the CRC, Eric Lupher, talks to Stateside about the best options to find road repair money.


How to ‘fix the damn roads’? Report: No easy answer
Detroit News, February 26, 2019
The 39-page Citizens Research Council report outlines three likely policy approaches to what is sure to be a politically charged debate: State government can raise taxes, divert existing revenues or get out the credit card and borrow funds.


Look to sales tax on gas to help fix Michigan roads, report suggests
Bridge Magazine, February 26, 2019
Doing so would allow lawmakers to increase the state gas tax by roughly 15.5 cents per gallon — replacing the estimated $894 million in annual sales tax revenue from fuel purchases that now doesn’t go to fixing roads — without also causing gas prices to rise, said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which evaluated the state’s road-funding options.


New report lays out pros, cons for road-funding plans
Michigan Advance, February 26, 2019
Michigan’s lawmakers only have three options if they’re serious about “fixing the damn roads,” according to a new report by the nonpartisan policy think tank Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC).


Onsted superintendent: Fewer applying for teaching jobs
Lenaawee Connect, February 21, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, wrote in that commentary that “Michigan does not appear to have an immediate teacher shortage” and the concerns are more of “a maldistribution of talent rather than a shortage.”


No teacher shortage yet in Michigan, but the talent pipeline is leaking
Bridge Magazine, February 18, 2019
Guest Column by Eric Lupher


Whitmer misrepresented school funding woes
Detroit News, February 14, 2019
As acknowledged in a new report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, the state’s school funding has outpaced inflation since the Great Recession.


How Did Gov. Whitmer Do In First State of the State Speech?
WDET Public Radio, February 13, 2019
Craig Thiel is the research director with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which just released a report titled, “Michigan’s Leaky Teacher Pipeline: Examining Trends in Teacher Demand and Supply.”


Report: Michigan’s teacher supply is dwindling and the state is doing little about it
Chalkbeat Detroit, February 12, 2019
One of the biggest conclusions out of the report, released Tuesday morning by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, is that the state isn’t doing enough to study the problem or provide solutions.


History not promising for possible Gilbert no-fault ballot plan
Detroit News, February 12, 2019
Michigan voters rejected reform proposals in 1992 and 1994, with each winning support from fewer than 40 percent of Michigan voters, Citizens Research Council President Eric Lupher reminded a Senate panel last Wednesday as lawmakers begin to debate the law.


The real state of no-fault auto insurance: Reform within reach for Michigan
Bridge Magazine, February 11, 2019
The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan has studied medical costs in the no-fault system, and recommended a series of reforms that could address both costs and customers’ premiums.


Michigan Legislature starts the engine on auto no-fault insurance talks
WMMT.COM, February 7, 2019
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Insurance and Banking heard a presentation from the Citizens Research Council on Michigan, a non-partisan nonprofit organization in Lansing. The data presented by the council’s president, Eric Lupher, focused on the medical costs that play a role in driving up auto insurance costs.


Auto insurance debate begins as Duggan suit heads to court
Detroit News, February 7, 2019
Current law makes Michigan’s insurance “the most expensive plan there is, but it’s also the highest quality plan there is,” Eric Lupher, president of the nonprofit Citizens Research Council, told lawmakers Wednesday.


Auto insurance reform: Lawmakers say now is the time
WILX TV-10, February 6, 2019
“The time is right to get it fixed if we’re going to be competitive going into the next decade,” said Eric Lupher, President of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Committee meets to talk auto insurance rates
Fox 47, February 6, 2019
“The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is a highly respected, non-partisan, independent research organization, and we look forward to their testimony on Wednesday on the problems plaguing Michigan’s broken, outdated auto no-fault system,” Kinley said. “The report’s findings reinforce what we have been saying for years: To reduce the cost of auto insurance in Michigan, the Legislature must pass reforms to crack down on fraud and abuse, stop medical provider overcharging and give drivers a choice in their level of medical coverage.”

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Whitmer faces $2B budget hole
WLNS TV-6, January 30, 2019
The respected non-partisan Citizens Research Council reports that, based on budget decisions made by Gov. Rick Snyder and the legislature, the new governor is facing a potential $2 billion hole in the budget and if she decides to make some moves the number could be even higher.


Charter Schools: Michigan’s 25-Year Experiment
WKAR Public Radio, January 29, 2019
“The idea being that competition for those students for those dollars will lead school districts or even charters to improve their game in hopes of recruiting students, recruiting families, and therefore those dollars to operate,” says Thiel.


Will Jocelyn Benson defend Michigan gerrymandering tactics she once fought?
Bridge Magazine, January 11, 2019
“You can’t look at this question before Benson with blinders on and think she is not a political player, because no matter what she decides will be political,” said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council, a Livonia nonprofit that has studied redistricting in Michigan.


Gerrymandering is dying in Michigan. Of old age. No joke.
Bridge Magazine, January 8, 2019
Those changes should give Democrats an advantage during the next round of mapmaking after the 2020 Census, said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan policy research organization based in Livonia that has studied gerrymandering in the state.

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2019 Media Citations

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Who’s leading classes? Uncertified teachers for thousands of Michigan kids
Bridge Magazine, October 10, 2019
So far this year, districts have asked for 1,138 permits for long-term subs. Last year at the same time, districts had requested about 1,000 permits, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a Livonia-based nonpartisan research firm.

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Majority of Michigan public schools started school year short on teachers
Bridge Magazine, September 26, 2019
Fewer college students are going in to teaching. Enrollment in teacher prep programs at Michigan universities dropped 66 percent over seven years between 2009 and 2016. While overall, there are enough students graduating from Michigan’s university-based teaching programs to replace teachers who retire and quit, they are not evenly distributed geographically or by teaching specialty, according to a report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Study: Local tax changes could help fix Michigan’s roads
Michigan Advance, September 4, 2019
Local taxation may be the answer to “fixing the damn roads,” according to a new paper from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan.


ix damn roads with a damn simple deal
Detroit News, September 4, 2019
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan offered up some ideas on alternative road funding options that could help break the impasse.


Equip local governments to fix county roads
Detroit News, September 3, 2019
Column by Eric Lupher

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Budget talks breaking down between Whitmer, GOP leaders
Michigan Advance, August 28, 2019
But Eric Lupher, a long-time policy observer and the president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said that Whitmer’s goal of tying roads to the budget was “artificial” and “had the effect of attempting to hold legislator’s feet to the fire to try to enact road funding reform.”


Whitmer calls on Republican lawmakers to reveal their plan for fixing Michigan roads
Detroit Free Press, August 28, 2019
Of the $840 million in sales tax now collected at the pump, $627 million goes to the School Aid Fund and $81.3 million goes to local governments, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Public pensions for Michigan’s largest cities $5.5 billion underfunded
The Center Square, August 20, 2019
Citizens Research Council of Michigan Research Director Craig Thiel told The Center Square the state is obligated by law to honor its pension promises.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Many communities opt out of medical marijuana business, for now
MiBiz, August 18, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council, agrees that local governments are “putting up fences at this point, thinking it’s easier to take them down than to allow businesses to come in and decide at some point in the future they made a wrong decision. It’s going to be easier to change from restrictive to permissive than to go the other direction.”


Dissolving Benton Harbor schools may be best option
Detroit News, August 13, 2019
Now, Benton Harbor could also face dissolution under the law, says Craig Thiel, research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Thiel says the district “clearly” meets the threshold necessary to trigger a dissolution. For example, he notes the district has operated with budget deficits since the mid-2000s. Similarly, enrollment has fallen 45% since 2009.


Future remains unclear for Benton Harbor students
Detroit News, August 12, 2019
Craig Thiel, director of research with the Citizens Research Council, a public affairs research organization, said without an approved financial plan, the district will have to start using its existing funds to pay down old emergency loans during the upcoming school year, which means money intended for instruction, teacher salaries and classroom supplies could be diverted.


An Up North charter is 44 percent subs. You can’t tell difference, supt. says
Bridge Magazine, August 7, 2019
Enrollment in teacher prep programs at Michigan universities dropped 66 percent over seven years, between 2009 and 2016. While overall, there are enough teachers graduating from Michigan’s university-based teaching programs to replace teachers who retire and quit, they are not evenly distributed geographically or by teaching specialty, according to a report by the Citizens Research Council.


Michigan leans on long-term substitutes as its schools struggle
Bridge Magazine, August 7, 2019
Bridge analyzed data received from the Office of Educator Excellence through a Freedom of Information Act request. Bridge combined three categories of substitute permits that districts request from MDE – full-year basic, full-year shortage and extended daily – to provide a more complete representation of the number of classrooms headed by substitutes for an extended period of time. That methodology was endorsed by Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan public policy research organization.


A deadlocked board
Inside Higher Education, August 7, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, echoed this point, saying that appointed boards give governors the option to work in tandem with universities to determine what kind of person the board needs to help fill in experience gaps.


Bloomfield Township wants higher taxes to pay for optional employment benefit
Oakland Press, August 4, 2019
Instead of addressing these costs, the township wants to tax their way out of this problem. They’re already at maximum millage amounts and it is questionable whether these special assessments can be used for this purpose. Special assessments are typically meant to be used only for a portion of a local government’s jurisdiction and are enacted to pay for structures that directly impact that portion. Special assessments to build, say, a sidewalk, would only be applied to land with the sidewalk and assessed based on how much sidewalk goes adjoins a property. But these assessments on the entire government for general services already exist in a number of other places, as the Citizens Research Council notes.


Why fixing the damn roads is so damn hard
Michigan Advance, August 2, 2019
“Clearly [Snyder and the Legislature] did us a disservice by doing half a job and doing it poorly in 2015,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “Actions like that just breed cynicism.”

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Locals Claim A Win As Court Ruling’s Impact On State Funding Reviewed
Gongwer, July 31, 2019
Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which consulted with the plaintiffs, said the case “could have been a big budget-buster.” However, Mr. Thiel said in the 2017-18 fiscal year, the state was at 55 percent of total state spending paid to local governments, well above the 48.97 percent floor. By Mr. Thiel’s calculations, pulling the funding the state appropriated to schools for the Durant and Adair cases, where the courts ordered the state to spend additional money to comply with Headlee’s prohibition on unfunded mandates, the state would still be above the threshold.


Court: Michigan shortchanged cities for years. But windfall isn’t certain.
Bridge Magazine, July 31, 2019
And unless the case goes to the Michigan Supreme Court and its justices give communities a clear victory, it’s not yet clear whether the state would have to pay more, said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Michigan Republicans sue to stop redistricting commission before it starts
Bridge Magazine, July 31, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, agreed that the suit filed Tuesday addresses a different question than the recent federal gerrymandering cases in North Carolina and Maryland.


Benton Harbor school officials want four years to improve high schools
Detroit News, July 26, 2019
Craig Thiel, director of research with the Citizens Research Council, said this is the first time the board is asking the state to split responsibility for the accumulated debt.


AG’s office: Whitmer lacks authority to close Benton Harbor schools
Detroit News, July 23, 2019
Craig Thiel, research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said it appears both sides are at an impasse over the district’s financial crisis.


Will Michigan’s Supreme Court rescue wages … and the law?
Detroit Free Press, July 17, 2019
Just last month, Michigan’s Constitution turned 56. During that half-century, there have been just 34 amendments to it, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, perhaps an indication that this document generally has bipartisan support as our state’s legal foundation. Alabama and Texas, for example, have amended their state constitutions 909 and 498 times respectively.


Republican ideas to fund Michigan road repairs taking shape over summer
Bridge Magazine, July 15, 2019
Michigan is one of the most restrictive states when it comes to giving local governments the option to levy their own taxes, according to the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Currently, property tax is its primary funding source, though it has proven to be problematic during the past decade because property values have not rebounded as fast as they collapsed during the Great Recession, limiting how much revenue communities can collect.


Whitmer, Republicans remain at odds over using pension bonds to fix roads
Michigan Advance, July 11, 2019
According to Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, navigating those waters skillfully is key to the success or failure of such a bond.


Back to the drawing board?
With Benton Harbor’s rejection of state plan, the way forward is unclear

St. Joseph Herald-Palladium, July 4, 2019
A third option is for the governor to declare the school district to be in a financial emergency, requiring the district to choose one of the four options under Public Act 436 of 2012 – commonly called the emergency manager law, said Craig Thiel, education research director with Citizens Research Council in Michigan.


Benton Harbor rejects Whitmer’s deal to keep high school open
Michigan Advance, July 3, 2019
Craig Thiel, research director with the nonpartisan think tank Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said that the state’s benchmark goals would likely need “more meat” to be successful, and concurred that one year of reform is unlikely to result in much change.


Michigan court ruling opens door to retiree healthcare cuts
Bond Buyer, July 2, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council, a not-for-profit public affairs research organization, said that although Macomb officials have said they do not intend to reduce retiree healthcare coverage, the ruling means they aren’t “hamstrung on OPEB the way they are on pensions.” The county has publicly signaled that it has no plans to lower its unfunded OPEB liabilities via benefit reductions.

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Supreme Court kills Michigan gerrymandering challenge, upends 2020 redistricting order
Detroit News, June 28, 2019
“There are some state senators breathing a little easier this morning, and I guess the State Board of Elections,” said Eric Lupher, president of the non-partisan Citizens Research Council. “Now they don’t have to worry about how to figure all this stuff out.”


What the U.S. Supreme Court gerrymandering ruling means for Michigan
Bridge Magazine, June 27, 2019
“It’s the status quo through the next election,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Citizenship question on census unlikely to change Michigan congressional landscape
MLive.com, June 26, 2016
“The fear is every state will suffer an undercount because of the citizenship question,” said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “The fact that we have fewer immigrants on a proportional basis than other states suggests we have less to lose, but those immigrants that we do have are also the ones who have felt targeted with some of the words and actions of this administration.”


No distinction needed, ‘special assessments’ are taxes
Detroit News, June 20, 2019
Guest column by Eric Lupher


Flint, unemployment insurance, Headlee lawsuits cast shadow over state budget
Michigan Advance, June 16, 2019
“The hard part for a government … when you know these sort of lawsuits are out there, [is that] you need to budget for them,” said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council (CRC), a Livonia-based nonpartisan public affairs research group. “But when you budget for them, you’re sort of telegraphing a view that you may not win, and this is how much you’re willing to settle for.”


Poll: Strong support for graduated income tax
Michigan Advance, June 15, 2019
Naturally, “the devil is in the details” with regard to how much revenue the state might raise through a graduated income tax, according to Eric Lupher, president of the Livonia-based nonpartisan policy group Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC).


Whitmer faces some backlash over Benton Harbor High closing
Bridge Magazine, June 11, 2019
“The authority to dissolve districts under the School Code resides with the state superintendent and the treasurer,” Craig Thiel, research director for Citizens Research Council, said in an email to Bridge. “(There is a) lot of misinformation going around … Amazing that the State Board was led to believe it is the lawmakers call on dissolution.”


In Benton Harbor, a school crisis with racial overtones
Detroit News, June 10, 2019
Craig Thiel, director of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said Benton Harbor is a unique case because it’s the only Michigan school district under a consent agreement. That agreement goes away June 30 when the state reform office closes.


Have A $900M Hole To Fill? Sales Taxes On Services Could Yield $10.7B
MIRS, June 10, 2019
A Citizens Research Council (CRC) report from earlier this year put the amount of sales tax collected at the pump at $894 million.


P3s could help solve Michigan’s road-funding crisis
Crains Detroit Business, June 9, 2019
Despite this crisis, in 2015, Michigan ranked 42nd among states for road spending for every 10,000 vehicle miles traveled, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Group looks at state of U.P. roads
Escanaba Daily Press, June 7, 2019
Maloney was followed by Citizens Research Council of Michigan President Eric Lupher. Lupher discussed issues with Michigan’s gas tax


Michigan House GOP plans to replace sales tax on gasoline to fund roads
Bridge Magazine, June 7, 2019
The sales tax generates an estimated $894 million in annual revenue from gasoline sales. At least one independent analysis, from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, has considered the idea as a potential road-funding option.


Special assessments are a tax by another name
Bridge Magazine, June 7, 2019
Guest column


Financial, academic woes and a change in state law puts Benton Harbor high school at risk
Michigan Radio, June 6, 2019
Craig Thiel is research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. He breaks down how Benton Harbor High School ended up in this position, and the state’s track record on intervening in financially distressed and low-performing schools.


Will auto no-fault changes bring down insurance costs? Depends on who you are.
Michigan Radio, June 5, 2019
Eric Lupher is the president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. He says the Legislature moved so quickly on the changes to the law that insurance companies are still trying to understand the ramifications.


Benton Harbor residents vent to Whitmer about high school closure
Michigan Advance, June 5, 2019
A report earlier this year from the nonpartisan policy group Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC) examined those two closures, finding their impacts were largely mixed.


How downtown Detroit’s taxes work and who really pays them
Detroit Free Press, June 4, 2019
“The thing you have to keep in mind with Detroit that is different than most of the cities in Michigan is that the property tax constitutes a minor share of the total revenue picture,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan that periodically offers deep analyses of city and state finances.


West Michigan transit expansion gathers broad support
Michigan Advance, June 3, 2019
While construction on new platform stations along the route has been ongoing, the ceremonial groundbreaking on Monday comes just months after the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan released a report calling for a paradigm shift in how the state approaches transit needs.

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Good Public Policy and Private Investment for Rural Michigan
Dome Magazine, May 31, 2019
As Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan and well-respected Citizens Research Council of Michigan elucidates in his report, Lessons Learned While Studying Michigan’s Urban and Rural Communities, “The problems of Detroit, Flint, Muskegon and other older cities are well-documented and resources have been devoted to revitalizing their neighborhoods, attracting new businesses, and other economic development activities. Relative to those efforts, very few resources have been devoted to rural communities.”


Medical care, cost shift concerns loom as gov. expected to sign insurance reform bill
Michigan Advance, May 29, 2019
“Those costs are currently being borne by the insurance system and we’re paying them through higher insurance rates, so we’re going to pay it either way,” said Eric Lupher, the president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council in Livonia.


What the no-fault auto reform deal means for Michigan drivers
Bridge Magazine, May 24, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said it’s not clear how these changes will affect rates.


Michigan Attorney General: GOP limits on petition drives are unconstitutional
Bridge Magazine, May 22, 2019
“The Secretary of State is bound by that Attorney General opinion until a court says otherwise, or at some time a different Attorney General might see it a different way,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Why This Political Fight In Michigan Should Matter To Democrats Everywhere HuffPost.com, May 18, 2019
Nobody disputes that Michigan has skimped on road repair spending. By 2015, the state was spending $171 per person on roads, according to a report from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. That was barely half the spending level in Wisconsin, a state where the roads are subject to similar strains from climate and vehicle wear.


Michigan’s bridges are bad — and a fix could take nearly a century
Detroit Free Press, May 17, 2019
In 2015, Michigan ranked 42nd nationwide for road spending for every 10,000 vehicle miles traveled, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Spending has gotten more generous since, but we are still below the national average.


Whitmer, GOP leaders talking amid auto insurance impasse, veto threat
Detroit News, May 13, 2019
In most states, “you use your health insurance or Medicaid or whatever else it is in case of an accident, or you sue and get the other guy to pay for it,” said Eric Lupher, president of the non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan


Why Michigan auto insurance costs so much, and how to lower it
MLive.com, May 8, 2019
On the downside, that drives up premium costs: Accounting for both higher prices and higher usage, medical claims cost Michigan auto insurers 57 percent more than claims for similar crashes in other states, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan said in the 2013 study.


Michigan Republicans say car insurance reforms would slash premiums
Bridge Magazine, May 7, 2019
Those unique benefits are the reason Michigan’s rates are, by far, the highest in the nation, said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit that has offered non-partisan analysis of state issues, including auto insurance.


Michigan plan: Give more state school aid to students with more needs
Detroit News, May 6, 2019
But Craig Thiel, research director for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said Whitmer’s proposal is not a “true” weighted funding system and is not much different than how schools and students are funded today.

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Detroit schools face tough choices with too many repairs, not enough money
Detroit News, April 29, 2019
In Michigan, a 2005 report released by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan and The Education Policy Center at Michigan State University found that public schools had an $89 billion in unmet capital need and a quarter of this need was concentrated in five high-needs districts: Detroit, Battle Creek, Flint, Muskegon and Saginaw.


Michigan’s political districts illegally gerrymandered, court rules
Bridge Magazine, April 26, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council that has studied gerrymandering, said the evidence in the trial clearly showed Republicans worked to create districts to their advantage. Among others, emails from GOP staffers bragged about trying to “cram Dem garbage” in southeast Michigan districts and tweak borders to satisfy the “the obvious objective — putting dems in a dem district and reps in a gop district” and “increase the black population in the black districts.”


Michigan is obese, unhealthy and dying young. And that’s costing billions.
Bridge Magazine, April 24, 2019
“We’re cheating ourselves on how long we’re going to live,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which studied the state’s overall health in 2018. “It’s kind of the antithesis of ‘Pure Michigan.’”


MIDOCS places medical residents into underserved areas of Michigan
MiBiz.com, April 14, 2019
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan in June 2015 estimated that the state would need 12 percent more primary care physicians by 2030, or more than 1,900 above the 16,199 at the time. Across Michigan, 90 percent of 83 counties have at least a partial shortage in primary care physicians.

Whitmer’s road funding plan could pit Michigan cities against rural areas
Bridge Magazine, April 1, 2019
A recent report from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council argues the current formula doesn’t reflect the greatest road needs.


Michigan governor’s fiscal ideas would double-tax small businesses, critics charge
Watchdog.com, April 1, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said Whitmer’s budget proposals reflect the key priorities she campaigned on, including more funds for K-12 and higher education in the state.

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‘Broken’ no-fault system desperately needs reform
Crain’s Detroit Business, March 31, 2019
They’ve heard from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which penned a report on the medical costs associated with Michigan’s auto no-fault system. The CRC report found Michigan’s auto no-fault system fails to hold medical providers accountable, and that providers are “not prevented from, and may benefit in, ordering and charging for more services that may provide little, no or even negative health value to the patient.”


We’re not taking public transit seriously. In the future, we may have to.
Detroit Free Press, March 26, 2019
Guest Column by Eric Lupher


Public transit needs to be regional, integrated across political boundaries, study says
Michigan Radio, March 21, 2019
A recent report from the Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan said regional transit is key to economic development, revitalizing communities, reducing pollution and traffic congestion, improving residents’ mobility, and reducing stress on roads and parking infrastructure.


CRC: Transit Must Be Regional, Seamless
Gongwer News Service, March 20, 2019
To improve transit, Michigan must move to regional systems that integrate with each other and with private transportation, the Citizens Research Council said in a report issued Wednesday.


Two Generations of Levins Talk State of American Politics on Detroit Today
Detroit Today on WDET, March 21, 2019
Sen. Levin is joined on the program by Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, who is one of the lead organizers of the event.


Study suggests lack of public transit is costing Michigan jobs
UpNorthLive.com, March 21, 2019
A study from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan on public transportation looked at the issue of financing Michigan’s transit systems.


Revisit Michigan’s outdated road funding formula
Detroit News, March 21, 2019
“Public Act 51’s funding formula is subject to debate just as the gas tax is subject to debate,” says Craig Thiel, research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Does Whitmer’s roads plan raise $2.5B or $1.9B? Here’s why it matters
Michigan Advance, March 21, 2019
Eric Lupher, a longtime Michigan policy observer and president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, said that the different budget organizations do disagree from time to time, but called it the “exception, not the rule.”


Proposed repeal of Michigan ‘pension tax’ prompts fairness debate
Bridge Magazine, March 19, 2019
“Nobody’s wrong,” said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “It’s just, what’s your opinion on it?”


New teacher cadet program planned for Kent County students to combat shortage
MLive.com, March 11, 2019
Enrollment in teacher-prep programs in Michigan colleges and universities have seen steep enrollment declines – by 66 percent over a recent seven-year period, according to the February report “Michigan’s leaky teacher pipeline: Examining trends in teacher demand and supply,” from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Gas Tax Hike Might Not Even Address Calhoun County Road Needs
WBCK 95.3 FM, March 11, 2019
The idea comes from a report from the non-partisan Citizens Research Council. It found that rural systems have 69 percent of roads and 30 percent of road usage, but the upkeep cost per mile is considerably higher in urban areas.


Whitmer proposes new way to divvy up money for roadwork
Associated Press, March 10, 2019
The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council recently reported that rural systems have 69 percent of roads and 30 percent of road usage, but the upkeep cost per miles is way higher in urban areas where roads are more heavily used. The money for local road agencies is based on road miles, population and vehicle registrations — “rudimentary” measures that “do not begin to address funding to the highest levels of need,” according to the study.


Road Funding Debate Complicated by Urban-Rural Divide
WDET Public Radio, March 8, 2019
And, as the Citizens Research Council of Michigan writes — in a post on Act 51 that you should definitely read — “the distribution formulas reflect actual road utilization. This means a two-lane road is funded the same as a four- or six-lane road and that roads with the greatest utilization or those with the greatest need (i.e., in the worst shape) do not receive priority.”


Whitmer’s plan spends more on roads in metro areas
Michigan Advance, March 7, 2019
Since 1951, Michigan has traditionally used Public Act 51 as the primary mechanism for doling out state dollars for road repairs to local units of government. A recent report from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan points out that the act does not take into account road conditions or road usage, and tends to favor lesser-traveled, rural roads.


Road funding needs fundamental fix
Detroit News, March 7, 2019
Guest Column by Eric Lupher


Why does ‘fixing’ Michigan pensions stick it to workers?
Bridge Magazine, March 7, 2019
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan issued a report in July 2009 that notes that Social Security only amounts to 30 percent to 50 percent of pre-retirement income. Absent national health insurance, we can continue to expect health care costs to increase dramatically, while employers also seek to shift costs to employee/retirees. The report concludes that these “cost shifting” employer reductions in retirement benefits necessarily means future generations of elderly will be “poorer”. Most will also be forced to retire later.


Confused by road funding? What Gov. Whitmer’s plan would and wouldn’t do
MLive.com, March 6, 2019
And this has been going on for decades. Michigan recently hiked the gas tax as part of the 2015 road plan. But even after that, a Citizens Research Council report found collections, once adjusted for inflation, were two-thirds of what they were in 1975.


Whitmer to propose 45-cent per gallon gas tax increase to fix roads
UpNorthLive.com, March 5, 2019 “That $1.2 billion was a number that was low-balled in terms of the total need across all road systems. That was roughly equivalent to just the state’s needs for its systems, not counting the local needs,” Citizens Research Council of Michigan Research Director Craig Thiel said. “The longer you wait, the bigger the problem gets next year.”


Michigan’s Options for Fixing the Damn Roads
Detroit Today on WDET Public Radio, March 4, 2019
Eric Lupher is interviewed by Stephen Henderson


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to propose 45-cent hike in fuel tax to fund Michigan roads
Detroit Free Press, March 4, 2019
Michigan taxes on fuel are already fifth-highest in the nation, and about 18 cents per gallon above the national average, largely because Michigan is one of a few states that applies its sales tax to fuel, according to a recent study by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Michigan needs to fix roads, while state is $10B below Headlee tax limit
Michigan Advance, March 2, 2019
Eric Lupher, executive director of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council (CRC), said that roads are the state’s highest priority and they need to be addressed accordingly.


Here’s how money to fix the damn roads might be found
Crain’s Detroit Business, March 3, 2019
Guest column by Eric Lupher


Use fuel sales tax to fix roads
Detroit News, March 3, 2019
If anyone thinks “fixing the damn roads” will be easy, they should take a look at the new report from the Citizens Research Council, an independent think tank that examined the options for funding Michigan road repairs.


How teachers indoctrinated me
Detroit Free Press, March 1, 2019
Sneaky “losers” like these women and man burrow their thought doctrines into the unsuspecting minds of our youth, all while earning a salary that is not commensurate with their status as professionals and the enmity of critics like Trump Jr. Is it any wonder that, according to a recent report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, enrollment in teacher prep programs in Michigan dropped 66 percent between 2008 and 2015?


Talk Back: Pothole season: Roads need funding, but how?
Holland Sentinal, March 1, 2019
All of this comes as a new Citizens Research Council report predicts only half the state’s roads will be in good or fair condition by 2025 and that even with the inflationary increases built into the 2015 gas tax plan, Michigan will continue to lose ground. But 250 miles to the south, it’s a far different story.

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Report: Gasoline Tax Must Rise Faster Than Inflation To Maintain Funding
Gongwer News, February 27, 2019
As anticipation builds for Governor Gretchen Whitmer to unveil her plan next week on how she will find $2 billion more for roads, there’s been considerable discussion about one of the usual sources for road funding – the gasoline tax. But the report from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan quantified the long-term vulnerabilities of relying on the gasoline tax, now at 26.3 cents per gallon.


CRC: Despite 2015 Package, State Will Be ‘Plagued’ With Poor Roads
MIRS News, February 27, 2019
As if your drive into the office today wasn’t jarring enough, the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan has this tidbit: Even with the 2015 road funding package that phased in $1.2 billion more for the roads, only half of the state’s roads will be in good or fair condition by 2025. That’s down from 77 percent last year.


Eric Lupher, President of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan
Guy Gordon on WJR 760 AM, February 26, 2019
Eric Lupher talks about new ways to fund the Michigan road problem with Guy Gordon.


Stateside: Gas tax and road funds; scrutiny of Detroit demolitions; lost black Lansing neighborhood
Stateside on Michigan Radio, February 26, 2019
It’s true, Michigan’s roads are bad and getting worse. Within six years, the number of roads considered “fair” or “good” condition will drop below the 50-percent mark. Lawmakers passed a $1.2 billion road funding package that is still short of what’s needed to get Michigan roads up to at least “fair” condition. Today, the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan released its recommendation for road-funding options. President of the CRC, Eric Lupher, talks to Stateside about the best options to find road repair money.


How to ‘fix the damn roads’? Report: No easy answer
Detroit News, February 26, 2019
The 39-page Citizens Research Council report outlines three likely policy approaches to what is sure to be a politically charged debate: State government can raise taxes, divert existing revenues or get out the credit card and borrow funds.


Look to sales tax on gas to help fix Michigan roads, report suggests
Bridge Magazine, February 26, 2019
Doing so would allow lawmakers to increase the state gas tax by roughly 15.5 cents per gallon — replacing the estimated $894 million in annual sales tax revenue from fuel purchases that now doesn’t go to fixing roads — without also causing gas prices to rise, said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which evaluated the state’s road-funding options.


New report lays out pros, cons for road-funding plans
Michigan Advance, February 26, 2019
Michigan’s lawmakers only have three options if they’re serious about “fixing the damn roads,” according to a new report by the nonpartisan policy think tank Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC).


Onsted superintendent: Fewer applying for teaching jobs
Lenaawee Connect, February 21, 2019
Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, wrote in that commentary that “Michigan does not appear to have an immediate teacher shortage” and the concerns are more of “a maldistribution of talent rather than a shortage.”


No teacher shortage yet in Michigan, but the talent pipeline is leaking
Bridge Magazine, February 18, 2019
Guest Column by Eric Lupher


Whitmer misrepresented school funding woes
Detroit News, February 14, 2019
As acknowledged in a new report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, the state’s school funding has outpaced inflation since the Great Recession.


How Did Gov. Whitmer Do In First State of the State Speech?
WDET Public Radio, February 13, 2019
Craig Thiel is the research director with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which just released a report titled, “Michigan’s Leaky Teacher Pipeline: Examining Trends in Teacher Demand and Supply.”


Report: Michigan’s teacher supply is dwindling and the state is doing little about it
Chalkbeat Detroit, February 12, 2019
One of the biggest conclusions out of the report, released Tuesday morning by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, is that the state isn’t doing enough to study the problem or provide solutions.


History not promising for possible Gilbert no-fault ballot plan
Detroit News, February 12, 2019
Michigan voters rejected reform proposals in 1992 and 1994, with each winning support from fewer than 40 percent of Michigan voters, Citizens Research Council President Eric Lupher reminded a Senate panel last Wednesday as lawmakers begin to debate the law.


The real state of no-fault auto insurance: Reform within reach for Michigan
Bridge Magazine, February 11, 2019
The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan has studied medical costs in the no-fault system, and recommended a series of reforms that could address both costs and customers’ premiums.


Michigan Legislature starts the engine on auto no-fault insurance talks
WMMT.COM, February 7, 2019
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Insurance and Banking heard a presentation from the Citizens Research Council on Michigan, a non-partisan nonprofit organization in Lansing. The data presented by the council’s president, Eric Lupher, focused on the medical costs that play a role in driving up auto insurance costs.


Auto insurance debate begins as Duggan suit heads to court
Detroit News, February 7, 2019
Current law makes Michigan’s insurance “the most expensive plan there is, but it’s also the highest quality plan there is,” Eric Lupher, president of the nonprofit Citizens Research Council, told lawmakers Wednesday.


Auto insurance reform: Lawmakers say now is the time
WILX TV-10, February 6, 2019
“The time is right to get it fixed if we’re going to be competitive going into the next decade,” said Eric Lupher, President of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Committee meets to talk auto insurance rates
Fox 47, February 6, 2019
“The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is a highly respected, non-partisan, independent research organization, and we look forward to their testimony on Wednesday on the problems plaguing Michigan’s broken, outdated auto no-fault system,” Kinley said. “The report’s findings reinforce what we have been saying for years: To reduce the cost of auto insurance in Michigan, the Legislature must pass reforms to crack down on fraud and abuse, stop medical provider overcharging and give drivers a choice in their level of medical coverage.”

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Whitmer faces $2B budget hole
WLNS TV-6, January 30, 2019
The respected non-partisan Citizens Research Council reports that, based on budget decisions made by Gov. Rick Snyder and the legislature, the new governor is facing a potential $2 billion hole in the budget and if she decides to make some moves the number could be even higher.


Charter Schools: Michigan’s 25-Year Experiment
WKAR Public Radio, January 29, 2019
“The idea being that competition for those students for those dollars will lead school districts or even charters to improve their game in hopes of recruiting students, recruiting families, and therefore those dollars to operate,” says Thiel.


Will Jocelyn Benson defend Michigan gerrymandering tactics she once fought?
Bridge Magazine, January 11, 2019
“You can’t look at this question before Benson with blinders on and think she is not a political player, because no matter what she decides will be political,” said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council, a Livonia nonprofit that has studied redistricting in Michigan.


Gerrymandering is dying in Michigan. Of old age. No joke.
Bridge Magazine, January 8, 2019
Those changes should give Democrats an advantage during the next round of mapmaking after the 2020 Census, said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan policy research organization based in Livonia that has studied gerrymandering in the state.

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