The 2017-18 MPP Speaker Series continued with a presentation from the president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan and MSU alumnus, Eric Lupher. Mr. Lupher began by describing the long history of the organization. Beginning as the Detroit Bureau of Government and Research, the CRC eventually evolved into one of Michigan’s foremost non-partisan and non-profit public policy research organizations, primarily focusing on issues facing Michigan local and state government. At its founding, the CRC represented some of the fundamental principles of the progressive era including the reliance on fact-based policy research and the professionalization of American civil service. The CRC was also instrumental in Michigan’s 1961 constitutional reforms as it produced a number of white papers advising the state government and Michiganders on the latest in policy research at the time.
Mr. Lupher then discussed some of the major policy projects that the CRC has studied or worked on in the last few years, including improvements to the Detroit Public Schools budget, tracking the teacher shortage that is developing in Michigan, state public health and Medicaid spending, property tax policy improvements, and a number of local governance issues. Of particular interest to students were improvements that could be made at the county-level, including consolidating administration of certain municipal services such as police and fire, while allowing for local units to maintain their identity, and improved coordination through broadband network penetration of all city services.
Finally, Mr. Lupher fielded a variety of questions, mostly related to health policy and ways to effectively disseminate the CRC’s findings in a cost-effective manner. More information on the Citizen’s Research Council and their white papers can be found at http://crcmich.org/.