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How Louisiana and NAR rocked the vote to win a major real estate transfer tax battle

Rock the vote

This May, when the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Board of Directors voted to raise membership dues by 50% to fund the Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative (RPPSI) and while some members loudly threatened to leave the Association, membership levels remained the same, neither increased or decreased by the change in the amount of dues.

The Realtor Party brought on the well known Wisconsin Realtors Association President, Bill Malkasian as the VP of Strategic Political Planning, a role where he oversees the advocacy program that funnels money and talent to the local and state boards as they battle various political issues that aren’t exactly national but impact agents at a more local level.

A recent victory that has come as a result of the Realtor Party took place just this month in the state of Louisiana – on November 19th, voters in the Bayou State went to the polls and by a wide margin (81 percent) supported Constitutional Amendment Number 1 to prohibit real estate transfer taxes, the result of a year-long collaborative effort between the Louisiana REALTORS and NAR.

According to NAR, “A vote of the legislature earlier this year put the transfer tax measure on the ballot. Final legislative passage occurred in June 2011 on a 101-0 vote in the Louisiana House of Representatives and a 34-0 vote in the Louisiana State Senate.”

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How NAR and Louisiana partnered:

In NAR’s own words, the list below is how the Realtor Party partnered with Louisiana to protect the residents from the real estate transfer tax:

    • Substantial funding and technical support from NAR and its issue advocacy team who provided consulting, polling, targeting and communications outreach assistance.
    • Extensive engagement and support by the Louisiana state association and 13 local boards. More than 10,000 yard signs, 250 large signs, 10,000 bumper stickers, 5,000 lapel stickers, 5,000 push cards and 5,000 postcards were distributed. Frequent communications kept members informed and engaged.
    • REALTORS® also coordinated communications outreach with local opinion formers and media as well as phone calls and rallies to inform and motivate voters.
    • A concerted attempt to obtain third-party support. By the end of the campaign, some 15 organizations around the state, many of them chambers of commerce, had formally expressed support for Constitutional Amendment No. 1.
    • Neutralization of potential opposition throughout the year and marginalization of actual opposition the final two weeks of the campaign.
    • About a dozen newspapers across the state endorsed Constitutional Amendment No. 1, including papers in six of the seven major metropolitan markets. A handful of television stations also editorialized in favor of the amendment in the days leading up to the election.
    • Social media engagement via a Facebook page that ended up with more than 1,000 “Likes.” Facebook became a portal for news clips and other campaign information, and many REALTORS® posted on the page’s Wall and shared the page.

We will continue to share with you victories and losses along the way of the Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative as they partner with local and state boards to funnel resources into local political battles that might otherwise have gone under-served.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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