Unlike state and local governments, Indian tribal governments are in general restricted to using tax-exempt bonds for activities that are an "essential government function," where "essential government function" does not include functions not customarily performed by state and local governments. This restriction has been difficult to enforce by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and increased the tax compliance burden on Indian tribal governments. GAO was asked for information on the number of facilities that state and local governments finance, construct, and operate in eight categories: (1) Rental housing, (2) Road infrastructure, (3) Parking garages and lots, (4) Community recreational facilities, (5) Golf courses, (6) Conference centers, (7) Hotel and tourist accommodations, and (8) State-owned gaming support facilities. GAO did not find a comprehensive, reliable source of the number of facilities. Instead, GAO searched and found a variety of public and private sources that had limited information on the amounts of financing provided by state and local governments in related categories.
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