Concept

Off-budget enterprise

Summary
Off-budget enterprises (OBEs, or special districts) are a type of government in the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union. OBEs use public funds to further public (as in education) or private (as in economic revitalization) interests. Regulated by various state and federal laws, they operate outside the regulations for general-purpose government and public scrutiny, although many states have created oversight authorities of one form or another. They achieve self-funding by usually having taxation authority or fund themselves through fees for services rendered. Some have the ability to raise revenue bonds. The fastest-growing OBE is the industrial development agency which issues tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds to finance private business ventures mainly to revitalize economically depressed areas. Many are formed to deal with special local situations. The most common OBE is the School district. In 1962 there were 18,323 OBEs and in 1998 there were nearly 30,000.
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