New Jersey REALTORS®
Millions were at stake for New Jersey’s real estate agents. Legislation allowing municipalities to impose a realty transfer fee on residential real estate sales would depress home sales and impose a hardship on the real estate industry.
New Jersey REALTORS® asked me to conduct an issue advocacy campaign to inform the public and educate legislators to the fee’s impact on homeownership.
We first ceased using the term “realty transfer fee,” replacing it with “home sales tax” and using the new phrase in all campaign ads and news releases. This correctly framed the debate around a costly and burdensome tax on the homes of New Jersey families.
Advertising channels included print, radio, and digital. Earned media included news releases, op-ed articles, letters to the editor, and editorial board visits.
The campaign’s website featured a home sales tax calculator. Homeowners could estimate the home sales tax they would owe when selling their home. Directly beneath the calculator we placed the campaign’s online petition for individuals to register their opposition to a local home sales tax.
We also produced a “person on the street” video of New Jersey homeowners opposing the tax, posting the video on the campaign website and sharing it via email.
The campaign successfully dissuaded lawmakers from considering the legislation, and it was never scheduled for a vote in either the State Senate or General Assembly.