Slide 3 of 84
For those of you who may not be familiar with CRC, we are a private, not-for-profit public affairs research organization, formed in 1916 to analyze issues pertaining to state and local government organization and finance in Michigan. We are fiercely nonpartisan, we don't lobby, support or oppose candidates for public office, or take positions on ballot issues. Instead, we believe that better information based on accurate, objective, factual research leads to better governmental decision-making. In that spirit, we have produced, in our 83 years, over 2000 reports on topics ranging from local government consolidation to state revenue sharing and highway finance to assisted suicide. Some of those reports are in the materials that are at your places. The rest of them are available from our offices or via our website. A large number of those reports relate to the state budget and we have learned a lot about both the structure and process of budget development and execution as well as the substantive issues that are dealt with in the budget.
In fact, although I haven't counted them, my guess is that we have done more reports on the state budget and related issues than on any other single topic. And that is no coincidence. From time to time, an issue will come along that will be of greater weight than the budget. But, year in and year out, virtually all significant issues will end up crossing the desk of the state budget director and find their way onto the agenda of the appropriations committees.
And, since money always attracts attention, the budget process is followed intently by a broad range of public officials, interest groups, the media, and occasionally, even the general public. As a legislator, regardless of whether you are on the appropriations committee, you will find that you will confront budgetary issues frequently and that a mastery of the basic concepts involved in state budgeting will be a great advantage in your day-to-day activities as a policymaker.