The Man Behind Secret Corporate Tax Deals

The practice of secret bidding that goes on between cities vying for business to locate in their town has been going on since the 1920s- and there's one man responsible for it all.

"Today, when a private company is considering relocating to a new city, there's a carefully orchestrated process involving tax incentives, site consultants and complicated, confidential negotiations. But the site-location game wasn't always that way. Interestingly, just about every aspect of the process as it exists today can be traced to one man who started it all: Felix Fantus.

An industrial real estate salesman in Chicago, Fantus had been wooing manufacturing companies to relocate to the Windy City since 1919. In an effort to attract these factories, Fantus compiled information on land, buildings, wages, local taxes, transportation and utilities. It was a service he had been giving away for free. His son-in-law thought Fantus ought to charge for the information, and in 1939 the Fantus Factory Relocating Service - and the entire site-location industry - was born."

Full Story: The Man Behind the Plan


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