Over CRC’s 100 year history, it has made an outsized impact for such a small organization. This is the first in a series of blog posts highlighting CRC’s top projects and reports since its inception in 1916.

This April marks 100 years of operation for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. In 1916, we were known as the Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, had offices in the Buhl building in Detroit, and were led by governmental research titan Lent D. Upson. In 1951, the Detroit Bureau merged with the Michigan Public Expenditure Survey to become a statewide organization and changed its name to Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Over the Citizens Research Council’s 100 year history, it has played an integral role in identifying state and local government issues, explaining their significance, and exploring alternative solutions for citizens, associations, and, most significantly, elected officials capable of making change. The following are CRC’s “Top Ten,” demonstrating it has enhanced public policy formation by educating citizens and state and local government leaders in Michigan since 1916.

  1. Constitutional Convention Papers (1961-62)
    This was the biggest single project in CRC’s history. The papers included three main components: 1) A comparative analysis of the 1908 Michigan Constitution; 2) Research papers on constitutional issues; and 3) A series of “position papers” based on 45 years of CRC experience.
  2. Michigan’s Fiscal Future (2008)
    In the depths of Michigan’s single state recession, CRC reviewed the recent history of the budget and projected revenues and spending pressure through FY2017. The analysis led to several policy changes.
  3. State Executive Budget Law (1919)
    CRC’s role in advancing this law helped shape many aspects of state government that we now take for granted, including: the state budget process; making the governor responsible for the administration of state government; consolidating state agencies into departments; providing for an independent, elected state auditor; and creating a single budget official.
  4. Approaches to Consolidated Local Government Services (2009)
    This report identified services susceptible to consolidation and provided a framework to aid in the determination of whether the service should be provided by the individual unit, with neighboring units, or with overlapping units.
  5. Michigan’s Recall Election Law (2012)
    With recalls of public officials becoming increasingly common, CRC looked at how Michigan’s process compares to other states. Reform of the Michigan process followed shortly after.
  6. Tax Revolt Analyses (1976-1994)
    Michigan electors voted on 15 proposals in a 20 year period to create new tax limitations. CRC, with its policy of providing analysis of all statewide ballot issues spent a considerable amount of time analyzing these issues and making countless public presentations to interested groups.
  7. Wayne County Charter (1981)
    After 50 years of research identifying the value of a home rule county, CRC produced a series of papers analyzing issues to assist the charter commission in its deliberations.
  8. Medical Costs of No-fault Automobile Insurance (2014)
    This report concluded that Michigan drivers, through auto insurance, subsidize the health care system through unnecessarily high premiums.
  9. Creation of SEMCOG (1968)
    In the summer of 1966, CRC concluded the main body of its work on intergovernmental cooperation with the series of Case Studies on Intergovernmental Cooperation in Southeast Michigan. In 1968, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) was created as a direct result of that work.
  10. Michigan Constitutional Issues (1994 and 2010)
    With the automatic question of calling a constitutional convention on the ballot, CRC provided in-depth analyses of the issues that might be addressed.

Stay tuned as, throughout April, we will be diving a little deeper into each of CRC’s “Top Ten” accomplishments and highlighting each of these projects.


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