National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Good Government Group Grades The Fiscal Transparency of Special Districts in Connecticut

They’re outside the traditional forms of local or state government, but so-called special districts spend more than $200 billion annually.

Nationwide, there are 38,000 of these government entities that provide a specific service for a designated area that would otherwise typically be provided by a local or state government.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and the Frontier Group inspected 79 special districts in a report they released Tuesday. The report found many lack fiscal transparency and easy access to audited financial statements or checkbook-level spending data.

Here in Connecticut, there are over 447 special districts. In 2013, the last year for which data was available, those special districts managed over well over $1.4 billion. These numbers, according to the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group, are conservative because only a fraction of special districts in each state actually report to the U.S. Census.

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