Protecting Homeowners From A Municipal Home Sales Tax
New Jersey REALTORS® asked me to conduct an issue advocacy campaign opposing legislation that would allow certain municipalities to impose a fee on the sale of residential real estate. Known as a realty transfer fee, this local fee would be in addition to a similar fee already charged by the state.
I convinced the client to use the phrase “home sales tax” instead of “realty transfer fee” in campaign material and when discussing the issue. This reframed the debate, making it about a costly and burdensome tax on the homes of New Jersey families.
I designed and executed a paid and earned media campaign. Advertising channels included newspapers, radio, and the Internet. Traditional public relations included news releases, op-ed articles, letters to the editor, and editorial board visits.
I developed the campaign’s website (njhometax.com), which featured a home sales tax calculator. Homeowners used the calculator to 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 and receive e-mail from the campaign.
We also produced a “person on the street” video featuring people voicing their opposition to the proposed tax. (njhometax.com/mos.html)
The campaign successfully dissuaded Trenton lawmakers from supporting the local home sales tax legislation. (PDF version)