It used to be that retail developers getting tax money for their projects was a slam-dunk, with TIF commissions tripping over each other to provide giveaways. Times have changed. In the past twelve months, TIF commissions in St. Louis county have rejected public subsidies for two major projects — a Walmart in Ellisville and the Deer Creek Shopping Center in Maplewood. Not that it matters. Under state law the city councils can overrule the TIF commissions — as they did in both cases. Still, it's a start for what big-picture urban planners have recognized as a "gross abuse" of tax dollars for simply luring businesses from one neighboring community to another.