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From the time the blog began, in 2006, a recurring topic of the blog essays has involved the variety of ways in which governments transfer taxpayers’ money to the bottom line profit of various businesses. Categories of reasons why these transfers are bad for taxpayers, consumers, competitors of the recipients, the general economy, neighboring communities and governments have been repeatedly identified and illustrated — all with about as much impact as an oak leaf in October, falling upon a lake, and slowly drifting to the bottom. Nonetheless, it seems worthwhile to maintain this single site of titles and links for any who share the author’s concern. — Nicholas Johnson, March 16, 2014.

Featured Article

“Initially designed for urban renewal and low-income housing, taxpayer-funded TIFs are now used to build upscale condos. … TIFs intertwine government and business in something that’s neither socialism or capitalism. It’s called ‘corporatism,’ and combines the worst qualities of both. … It’s ideological hypocrisy to praise free markets while coming to city hall tin cup in hand. … It’s inexcusably unfair to fund one business person while leaving his competitors on their own.” Like Death and Taxes, TIFs and TIFing Seem Here to Stay, Nicholas Johnson, Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 3, 2013, p. A7 [Read Full Article]

Resource Links

  • City of Coralville [View]
  • Council of Development Finance Agencies [View]
  • Sierra Club – Iowa Chapter [View]
  • Wikipedia [View]
  • World Bank [View]

Full List of Articles by Year


“Chauncey’s TIF,” June 8, 2015

“TIFs — Chauncey — For the Record,” May 25, 2015


“Sycamore TIF Unnecessary,” Iowa City Press-Citizen, November 23, 2014, p. A5, embedded in “Lucky’s Gets Lucky: $1.7 Million of Taxpayer’s Money,” November 23, 2014

“From Earmarks (D.C.) to TIFs (I.C.): America’s Fascist Economy; TIFs — Therrre Back!,” July 15, 2014

Nicholas Johnson, “Talking TIF: Costs Outweigh Possible Benefits,” The Gazette, April 13, 2014, pp. A9, A12 [submitted as “TIFs’ Multiple Costs Outweigh Any Possible Benefit,” and embedded in “Tussling Over TIFs: Pros and Cons; Tough TIF Talk,” April 13, 2014

“TIFs: Too Many Negatives,” March 25, 2014

“TIF Apology,” March 18, 2014


“A TIF Discussion; Evolution of a Family’s TIF Policy Position,” June 9, 2013

“TIF Towers; Giving TIFs the Sniff Test,” April 9, 2013

“Crony Capitalism’s Failures: Iowa City Style; Gone With the Wind,” April 8, 2013

“First Step to Reducing National Debt; Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant,” April 4, 2013,

“Repealing Corporate Welfare: Step One; The Journey of a Trillion Dollars,” March 25, 2013


“Big Boxes, Little Bookstores and Taxpayers; We’ll Leave the Prairie Lights on For You,” June 6, 2012,


“TIFs Wealthy Relatives; $7 Trillion Secret Giveaways to Banks; Marlins’ Stadium,” December 6, 2011

“TIF Impact Statements; The Questions We Should Insist Officials Ask First,” November 29, 2011

“SSMIDs, Taxes and TIFs: The Lessons; Say ‘No’ to Tax Increases, ‘Yes’ to SSMIDs?!”
November 3, 2011

“The True Price of TIFs,” October 1, 2011

“The Religious Indictment of Republicanism; Catholic University Professors Say Republican Budget Violates Basic Catholic Moral Teachings,” May 14, 2011,

“Brother, Can You Spare a TIF? TIF Helps the Rich Get Richer,” April 25, 2011






“Taxpayer Rescue; The Way Free Private Enterprise is Supposed to Work: Thinking and Acting Globally and Locally,” September 15, 2008

“Growing Iowa’s Economy the Right Way,” April 27, 2008

“Bush and Giveaways to Sheraton; Who’s Best Bush? And, Raising Taxes to Increase Corporate Profits,” April 25, 2008

“Call the Cops, Robbery in Progress,” April 24, 2008

“Golden Rules & Revolutions: A Series – VIII,” April 19, 2008 (with links to prior 7)

“Football, Skating and Corporate Welfare,” January 25, 2008


“Understanding TIFs,” October 5, 2007

“Courage, Councilors,” October 3, 2007

“TIFing Your Doctor,” September 12, 2007 (with TIF lyrics for “Folsom Prison Blues”)

“Public Money, Private Profits,” August 24, 2007

“Cable, Coralville, Coal and Consultants, August 17, 2007 (subsection headed “Desperately Trying to Put a Good Face on TIFs”)

“The Terrible TIFs; They’re Back: The Terrible TIFs,” July 26, 2007,


“Riverside’s Deeper Gambling Debt,” November 11, 2006

“Riverside’s Tax to Nowhere,” October 31, 2006

“It’s Not About ‘Taxes,'” October 24, 2006

“More on Corporate Welfare from ‘Hat’s Off’ Winner,” October 22, 2006

“Call the Cops: $3.755 Million Robbery in Progress,” October 18, 2006

“Why Do They Hate America?” October 4, 2006

“Press-Citizen Says ‘Tough TIF,'” September 22, 2006

“Supervisor Sullivan Says ‘TIF, TIF, Tsk, Tsk,'” September 16, 2006

“TIF-ing My Toolshed,” September 2, 2006

“Coralville’s Hotel: ‘Trust But Verify,'” August 16, 2006

“Are TIFs ‘Corporate Welfare’?” July 22, 2006

“More: Justifying Corporate Welfare,” July 13, 2006

“Neutral Principles, Anyone? Justifying Corporate Welfare,” July 12, 2006