Date of this Version
This is one of a series of NebGuides on financing state and local government. This publication provides an overview of key trends and issues.
Government's primary purpose is to provide public services. In the United States these services are provided by federal, state and local units of government. Sometimes one entity has full responsibility for providing for a common need, as the federal government does for national defense. Often, however, responsibilities are shared, as in public education.
A wide array of public services are provided because citizens have asked for them. Sometimes it is a minority of citizens who have made the request. In Nebraska, about 3,000 units of government provide public services and levy taxes. These include federal and state government, 93 counties, over 500 municipalities, and nearly 800 school districts. Other "taxing districts" include educational service units, community college districts, natural resource districts, rural fire districts and sanitary improvement districts.