The REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative
Real estate transactions and the real estate profession are under attack. Our leaders in Washington D.C. are eyeballing the Mortgage Interest Deduction. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Sacramento and local city halls are dealing with continuing budget problems and could be looking at revenue from real estate transactions as an answer. These issues impact our ability to do business and serve clients.
You can see how government is involved in your transactions by watching this video:
REALTORS® must act together to ensure the future of mortgage financing and to keep housing affordable in America. We must have the power to shape this pivotal moment for the American Dream of Home Ownership everywhere and at every level of government.
The REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative will make the National Association of REALTORS® one of the most influential advocacy groups in America.
The REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative will make sure lawmakers hear the REALTOR® message. To pay for the initiative NAR dues for 2011 will be raised by $40. Nearly 70 percent of this money is earmarked for state and local issues.
For more information about how the funds will be spent, please watch this video interview with 2011 Bay East President Otto Catrina:
NAR Political Survival Initiative FAQs:
Is the Political Survival Initiative and dues increase legal? Yes. The Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court ruling opens the door for major corporations and special interest groups to increase their political activities. The ruling also allows trade association (including NAR) dues dollars to be used when communicating with the public to influence voter opinions. While the ruling addresses candidate campaigns, it also makes it much more expensive to communicate with our members and with voters on important real estate issues.
Why do we need to do this now? Policies at the federal, state and local levels are threatening real estate. The federal income tax mortgage interest deduction is being threatened; affordable insurance is tougher to secure; getting a loan, even for well-qualified buyers, has become especially challenging; communities are increasingly being burdened with higher property taxes and transfer fees. While the cost of the initiative is modest, the cost to REALTORS® of NOT doing it is much higher.
Can’t NAR just tighten its belt and fund this initiative by cutting spending in other areas?NAR has taken a number of cost-cutting measures - eliminating 33 staff positions, reducing staff benefits and freezing salaries. Every operating area of the organization has instituted austerity measures designed to trim up to 20 percent off their expenditures. This is resulting in an overall savings of $12 to $15 million per year for the next three years.
Doesn’t a dues increase dedicated to this initiative make us just like unions that require members to support specific political candidates? Not exactly. Only 27 percent of the Political Survival funds have anything to do with specific candidates. The other 73 percent is dedicated to services and funding needs for voter records database use, partnering on state/local issue advocacy efforts and grassroots outreach. The Political Survival funds will help address public policy issues including mortgage finance, facilitating short-sales and access to affordable insurance. REALTORS’® livelihoods depend on the outcome of these issues and they transcend political party lines. While unions contribute the vast majority of their political advocacy funds to just one party, RPAC (the REALTOR Political Action Committee) is bi-partisan, splitting contributions nearly 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans. Just like RPAC, the Political Survival Initiative will support REALTOR®-friendly candidates and issues. As a REALTOR®, your input into those decisions is welcome at all levels of the REALTOR® family.
How will the Initiative help state and local associations? $119 million of the five-year initiative is tied to programs and services that state and local associations can access to augment their issues advocacy campaigns and/or independent expenditure campaigns. In addition to the assistance for independent expenditure campaigns, other services and funding are available for state and local associations, as well. Approximately $82 million will be available in direct funding of issues mobilization requests, coordinated issue campaigns, independent expenditure campaigns and direct RPAC fundraising grants. Another $37 million will be in the form of services such as the Campaign Services program with voter records database and consulting support, the RPAC PAC management software, administration of the broker involvement program, and the online advocacy member communications software.
What percentage of the dues increase would be nondeductible? None of the dues increase is deductible from federal taxes. In 1993 Congress disallowed as a business deduction the portion of dues used for lobbying and other political activities conducted by NAR and state and local associations. In 2011, the portion of your NAR dues that was nondeductible for this reason was $26. The calculation is done each year to capture budgeted amounts for nondeductible activities in that year, so a new calculation would be done for 2012 once all of NAR’s budgeted programs are evaluated.
For additional information please contact Dave Stark at 925-730-4068 or firstname.lastname@example.org