Special Districts

Special-purpose districts or special district governments in the United States are independent governmental units that exist separately from, and with substantial administrative and fiscal independence from, general purpose local governments such as county, municipal, and township governments. As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, the term special district governments excludes school districts. In 2007, the U.S. had more than 39,000 special district governments.

There are 277 special purpose districts (SPDs) in Texas that impose sales and use tax. These SPDs and their appropriate tax rates are shown below. The SPD tax is collected in addition to state tax and any other local taxes (city, transit, and county) when applicable.



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Texas Constitution
Code – Special District Local Laws


Huffington Post – John Oliver Tackles Mysterious Government Bodies Called ‘Special Districts’

Pew – Interactive: The Many Special Purposes of Special Districts

Houston Chronicle – Special purpose districts are weaving a tangled tax web

Houston Chronicle – Taxing districts proliferate out of public eye

Houston Chronicle – Municipal Utility Districts in Texas have sweeping power to sell bonds, levy taxes

Houston Chronicle – MUDs sell bonds, levy taxes for developers who court conservative politicians with campaign cash

Houston Tomorrow – Special Districts Helping Finance Planned Communities in Texas

Houston Press – How a Few Rent-A-Voters in a Vacant Lot Lead to Millions in Bonds for Taxpayers

Houston Chronicle – Probe targets emergency service district

Colorado Independent – Carroll plans legislation to reform special district governance

New York Times – A Skeptical New Look at Special Tax Districts

Lexington Herald – Report: Special taxing districts in Ky. collect $1.5 billion a year with little oversight

Arizona Central – Report: Reform Arizona’s special tax districts

Arizona Central – Arizona Coyotes ask lawmakers to create special taxing district for new arena

Arizona Central – Taxation Vexation: Special districts often lead to wildly disparate tax bills among neighbors

Daily Camera – Just 5 voters to shape Superior Town Center’s special districts

Orland Sentinel – Part 3: Taxpayers in special districts pay up to hospitals

Daily Kos – Special Districts: Ghosts in the Democracy Machine

Aspen Public Radio – Special District Elections: The “Wild West” Of Voting

USA Today – Cash-strapped governments turn to special districts

NPR – Special Districts Reforms Filed, Moving Quickly in Frankfort




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