Apparently "Hat's Off" is going to become a feature of this blog. There's criticism enough of the mainstream media, much of it even deserved, that a pat on the back from time to time doesn't seem out of place.
So this "Hat's Off" goes to Lee Rood and Donnelle Eller -- along with the Des Moines Register's editors and owners who make their work possible -- for a very impressive series about TIFs in yesterday's (August 13) Sunday Register. The opening piece of the seven total was headlined "Diverted Millions Bring Progress -- And Big Debt" (available from http://www.dmregister.com, and also available from here).
Conclusions? Read the series and decide for yourself. It seems the best that one can say for TIFs is that they're not for every community, and that "there's no such thing as a free tax waiver." TIFs are costing other community programs millions of dollars.