George Paz is the Chairman and CEO of Express Scripts Inc., a pharmacy benefit management company that is #20 on the Fortune 500 list and the 20th largest employer in the St. Louis region. Express Scripts is also notable for its aggressive pursuit of tax subsidies. Indeed, it has received $132,077,627 total in state and federal tax subsidies. In Missouri, the company has a long history of maximizing its tax breaks at the expense of St. Louis County residents. In 2005, Express Scripts "set off a bidding war" by announcing it was considering moving its headquarters to a new state. But, some experts have suggested that Express Scripts was never really planning on moving, but instead wanted to scare Missouri into increasing retention subsidies for staying in the area. The company reportedly turned down higher offers from other states after Missouri legislators passed the Quality Jobs Act, which created a subsidy program that has been widely criticized for not actually creating quality jobs (in 2012, the Missouri Department of Economic Development projected that the program had created 26,686 jobs, but only 7,176 jobs had actually been created).
"Express Scripts decided to locate its new headquarters on the campus of the University of Missouri at St. Louis as part of a subsidy package worth about $20 million – $12.5 million from the state, and more than $8 million from St. Louis County in property tax abatements and sales tax exemptions on construction materials. When Express Scripts decided in 2009 to build a new drug distribution center, it created another bidding contest. The Missouri Development Finance Board promptly awarded the project $3 million in Build Missouri bonds. That plus another $4 million in financial assistance apparently persuaded the company to put the facility in north St. Louis County. In November 2010 the company asked the county for another $63 million in bond financing. In December 2010 Express Scripts was awarded a ten-year, $6.2 million property tax abatement, $3 million in Quality Jobs tax credits and $1 million in BUILD subsidies for an expansion of its headquarters complex." What does this extensive corporate welfare mean for St. Louis County residents? A drained tax base and less money for the Ferguson-Florissant school district and other essential public services.