As a policy analyst, the Antiplanner has a lot of appreciation for John Oliver‘s Last Week Tonight, which often includes in-depth analyses of important but sometimes forgotten issues such as stadiums, Guantanamo, bail, mandatory minimum sentencing, and municipal violations. I don’t always agree with his conclusions, but he and his writers usually ask the right questions and put a lot of thought into most of his shows.
However, he missed the mark in last Sunday’s show about special districts. “Special districts are small units of government with the power to take tax dollars to do one special thing,” he notes, adding that there are about 40,000 such districts in the country. Instead of weighing whether such districts were better or worse than other forms of government, such as cities and counties, he then proceeds to attack the idea of such districts using often specious reasoning.