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Phipps: Political Survival Is the Job at Hand

By Robert Freedman, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

It’s difficult to know where to turn your attention when there are so many areas in which REALTORS®’ livelihoods are challenged. Financially strapped governments are proposing transfer fees and other taxes on real estate to shore up depleted revenues. Some lawmakers and business interests are trying to put control of the mortgage secondary market exclusively in the hands of private banks. And big Wall Street financial interests and other corporations are pouring unprecedented amounts of money into political advocacy efforts to advance their agendas since the U.S. Supreme Court last year opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending in elections when it overturned 100 years of legal precedent in its Citizens United decision, which effectively gives corporations the same political speech rights as individual citizens.

malta, helsel, mendenhall

Answering members' questions. From right, Vince Malta, NAR vice president and liaison to government affairs, James Helsel, Jr., past NAR treasurer, and Elizabeth Mendenhall, NAR vice president and liaison to committees

Pointing to this backdrop, NAR President Ron Phipps told thousands of REALTORS® Wednesday at a virtual town hall meeting that “we are at a threshold. Housing is under attack in a way we’ve never seen before.”

Phipps hosted the virtual town hall in Chicago and broadcast live to thousands of REALTORS® around the country to explain and take questions on one of the association’s biggest and most controversial proposed initiatives ever: the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative, which would inject almost $200 million into local, state, and national political advocacy efforts over the next five years to give REALTORS® resources to fight the assault on home ownership. Through a live feed, REALTOR® associations in Washington State and the District of Columbia participated and were invited to ask questions of Phipps and members of his leadership team, as well as former NAR President Cathy Whatley, who chaired a presidential advisory group, or PAG, that developed the proposal.

“The situation, frankly, is serious, not merely because our livelihood is at stake, but because home ownership in an absolute sense is at stake,” said Phipps. “Since World War II, our country has made home ownership a priority, but that’s changing. The privileges our grandparents, parents, and we have are being eroded, and we don’t want them denied to our children. Our initiative is about an agenda way beyond us. It’s about our purpose as a country.”

The PAG that developed the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative was appointed by 2010 NAR President Vicki Cox Golder immediately following the Citizens United ruling. After a year of work, the PAG earlier this year presented President Phipps with its proposal and, in a special meeting held earlier this week, the NAR Executive Committee recommended moving forward with the plan. The initiative now goes before the NAR Board of Directors for a vote at its meeting in Washington on May 14.

Moe Veissi, NAR president-elect, takes calls from members on political survival initiative.

Moe Veissi, NAR president-elect, takes calls from members on political survival initiative.

The initiative calls for generating an estimated $195 million over five years through an annual dues increase of $40, which would be dedicated to political advocacy efforts. Two-thirds of that revenue and the services it pays for would be made available to local and state associations.

The dues proposal is REALTORS®’ answer to the hundreds of millions of dollars that corporations flooded into last year’s elections in the form of issue and other political advocacy campaigns and that are already pouring into next year’s national elections. The money is considered “soft dollars,” that is, corporate or dues funds that are not subject to strict limits imposed on so-called hard dollars that individuals and institutions contribute directly to political candidates.

Under the plan, NAR members would continue to contribute to the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC), which collects the hard-dollar donations that can be directly contributed to candidates selected by RPAC trustees. RPAC also collects and disburses soft funds, which are deployed in what are known as independent expenditures: advocacy activities that advance real estate interests and promote legislators deemed “REALTOR® champions” but aren’t done in coordination with any candidate.

At the town hall, NAR leaders explained the array of attacks on the way real estate is financed, taxed, and regulated that add up to an assault on the institution of home ownership itself. “We find ourselves in a perfect storm,” said Whatley.

Among the hits to home ownership that were described:

Mortgage Interest Deduction. Lawmakers are embarking on comprehensive tax reform as part of major efforts to rewrite the federal budget, and MID is expected to be part of the discussion. Even if the 100-year-old tax benefit is preserved for home owners, NAR leaders said, it could face curtailment in other ways, including restrictions on its use for second homes.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Some lawmakers want to go beyond reforming secondary mortgage market companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to eliminating them outright and, in some proposals, replacing them with no form of federal involvement, leaving mainly FHA to pick up the pieces for borrowers who can’t find financing in the conventional market. Their elimination with no new form of federal backstop would threaten the availability of the basic 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage that middle class households rely on and that have proved to be safe and affordable, even during the deepest part of the downturn.

Qualified residential mortgage exemption. As part of the sweeping Wall Street reform law enacted last year, banks are required to hold in their portfolio at least 5 percent of the value of the mortgages they originate that are securitized for sale to investors. That skin-in-the-game provision will lead to mortgage rates rising by an estimated 300 basis points, putting home ownership out of reach for many. However, the law includes an exemption to this 5-percent risk-retention requirement for mortgages that are considered safe. Lawmakers made clear while writing the law that “safe” refers to mortgages that are soundly underwritten to creditworthy borrowers the way typical fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages handled by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are. But regulators in writing the rules to the law are proposing to define “safe” as mortgages with a minimum 20 percent down payment, which could raise costs to borrowers for almost 70 percent of the market, according to some estimates. Even a 10 percent minimum down payment would devastate sales.

Tax on services. At the local level, governments around the country are ramping up efforts to pass sweeping taxes on services, including real estate sales, to fill their empty coffers with revenue. “Everything’s going to be put on the backs of point-of-sale,” says Beth Peerce, president of the California Association of REALTORS®. Even at the national level, there’s talk of a national tax on real estate sales and other services as part of the mix to shore up the federal budget, Peerce says. Among those proposals is a 4.5 percent tax on services, which would effectively eliminate today’s thin profit margin for brokerages, she says. Peerce wasn’t part of the town hall but spoke with REALTOR® Magazine by phone yesterday.

“The list of attacks on real estate goes on and on,” said Whatley

At the town hall, the NAR leaders acknowledged the uncertainty and concern the initiative raises, and sought to answer those as thoroughly as they could:

Loss of membership. Local and state association executives and their leaders are concerned the dues increase will drive out membership.

Response: Phipps and others said the REALTOR® brand, its services, its organizational strength, its Code of Ethics, and its programs provide value to real estate professionals far beyond the amount of dues members pay, even with an increase. “We have to do more to help members see the value of the association,” said Phipps. “If the conversation just focuses on the cost of this initiative, members won’t have the full picture. We need to close our members on our value, and this initiative is very much a part of that value.”

Help with ground-level agency issues. Practitioners say disclosure and other agency issues continue to be among the most important and they want to be sure the initiative can help them with confusing state disclosure rules.

Response: The leaders said agency issues are exactly the kind of thing for which local associations can get more resources—both in dollars and expert help—than before. “NAR wants to partner with associations looking to make changes to these rules,” said Vince Malta, NAR first vice president and liaison to government affairs.

These kinds of issues are even percolating at the national level, with talk among some lawmakers of instituting national licensing requirements for real estate professionals and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created last year as part of Wall Street reform, that is set to start writing rules that could impact how real estate is handled at the local level because of its jurisdiction over how financial services are provided.

Erosion in RPAC support. RPAC fundraisers say their existing tools will be insufficient to motivate their members to donate to RPAC if dues money is dedicated to political advocacy.

Response: Leaders said the key is educating members about how deployment of the new funds would differ from that of RPAC contributions. “One pool of funds is for independent expenditures or ‘non-hard dollar’ advocacy efforts, which is what we mean when we talk about corporate funds,” said Moe Veissi, NAR president-elect. “One is for RPAC ‘hard dollar’ contributions that go directly to REALTOR® champions on the Hill. The funds that come out of the proposed $40 dedicated dues increase go to the independent expenditures. Those are corporate, or soft-dollar, contributions. If there’s someone at the local level that needs support beyond making contributions to the candidate, REALTORS® can use the corporate funds to pay for TV ads and other types of support that aren’t part of the candidate’s campaign.”

RPAC fair-share performance. Local leaders are concerned that, if volunteer donations to RPAC decline, local and state associations will face restricted access to advocacy help under the initiative if they don’t meet their fair-share contribution goal under RPAC.

Response: Although the idea of tying funds to RPAC performance was floated as a way to reinforce the importance of continued strong RPAC donations, that idea was rejected by AEs and members who heard the proposal. Now there’s no tie between RPAC fundraising performance and the availability of funds under the initiative. “We’re still committed to the goal of strong RPAC contributions, because that need continues to grow,” said Malta.

Alternatives to the initiative. One caller asked what other choices are available for addressing the new political climate if the initiative isn’t approved by the Board of Directors.

Response: Whatley said she’s confident the initiative will pass, and others on the leadership team said the alternatives are not as effective as the initiative. NAR Immediate Past President Vicki Cox Golder said associations would have to continue to rely on the relatively small percentage of their membership that donate and are politically involved, and that that’s not a recipe for thriving in an environment in which corporations are pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into advocacy efforts. “It’s just a few of us pulling the contributions along,” she said. “We can’t rely on those few people to a further degree if this initiative doesn’t pass.”

NAR Treasurer Bill Armstrong pointed to NAR’s eight-year battle to keep banks out of real estate and what the environment would look like today had the banks succeeded in their effort. Other efforts like the banks’ will be made and it will be harder to stop them if it remains business as usual among REALTORS®, he said.

Fate of Public Awareness Campaign. Some members have suggested that funds from NAR’s national TV and radio ad campaign be diverted for this purpose. Others have said they don’t want to see an end to the campaign, which publicizes to consumers the difference between REALTORS® and other real estate practitioners and the advantages of working with a REALTOR®.

Response: Phipps said using the Public Awareness Campaign funds is an option that was considered by the NAR Executive Committee, but the Committee voted earlier in the week to recommend against that option. “We have to fully fund both efforts, the Public Awareness Campaign and the Political Survival Initiative, if we’re going to make this the seventh time housing leads the recovery of the economy,” he said.

Identity of home ownership opponents. A caller said he favored the proposal but faced an uphill battle justifying it to his peers. He said he could better explain the initiative and why it’s needed if there was more information on where these attacks on home ownership are coming from and who is behind them.

Response: Veissi said the attacks are at all three levels—local, state, and national—and they’re not always direct. At the national level, there is the attack on MID, the secondary mortgage market, and the effort by regulators to mandate a minimum 20 percent down payment on mortgage loans that meet the risk-retention exemption for banks. At the local level there is the increase in efforts to impose taxes on services, among other things. But as for naming specific lawmakers or organizations that are driving this anti-home ownership agenda, “we walk a tightrope on that,” Phipps said. “We don’t want to give attackers encouragement.”

Access to funds. Local leaders say they need more specifics on how their associations will access the new resources.

Response: Whatley said it’s just a matter of requesting help from the issue mobilization pool: “If you have a local issue, you come to NAR and request issue mobilization money from the pool of funds for local races or tap campaign services,” she said, which include access to a massive voter database that can help associations target and craft their messages.

Cost-cutting efforts. One caller said any dues increase should come only after NAR ensures its members that the association is operating in as budget conscious a way as possible.

Response: NAR CEO Dale Stinton responded to caller, saying the association has cut about $20 million from its fiscal year budget of about $128 million by cutting more than two dozen positions, freezing pay across the board, and curbing benefits, in part by requiring larger contributions from employees for health benefits. On the cost of its two office buildings, it spends only $3 a square foot on operating costs, despite rental rates in comparable buildings at $30 a square foot in Chicago and $50 a square foot in D.C. About half of the Chicago building and about 60 percent of the D.C. building are leased to tenants.

Corporations will continue to outspend REALTORS®. Despite the dues increase and the substantial increase in advocacy resources, one caller said, corporations will continue to flood races with money at a pace far ahead of what REALTORS® can match.

Response: Phipps said the new resources will enable NAR to be far more strategic in how REALTORS® spend their funds, so while they won’t match corporations in absolute dollars, they can more than match them in strategic terms. “We’re already changing the playing field,” said Phipps.

“To a person, we on the leadership team believe this is critical to our future,” added Phipps. “This is about thriving and not just surviving. We’re passionate about this, but it’s more than passion: It’s just common sense. Harry S. Truman said America wasn’t built on fear. It was built on courage, imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. For us, this is the job at hand.”

Read more on RPPSI.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at rfreedman@realtors.org.

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Comments
  1. eddie Franklin

    So….when is it that anyone is ready to go out into the streets and fight for what is right?

  2. I see nothing about the real estate tax imbeded in Obamacare. This 3.8% tax on profit on the sale of a home over $500,000 will hurt middle class sellers especially in the northeast and parts of California. Some one who has stayed in their home for many years is hurt the worst. Maybe the NAR is pro Obamacare and isn’t concerned about this tax.

  3. Steve Parker

    I have never understood why you collect Dues and ask for political action money at the worst time of the year for a Realtor.

  4. Ronny Geenen

    And I am still against any mandatory fee for political purposes.
    We Realtors are no union members.
    The amount that we yearly pay can be use the way NAR want to use, even if you want to use 100% of that money for the political goal. I do not care about that.
    BUT NO MANDATORY POLITICAL FEE.

  5. Richard Whitney

    This no more then a contest to see who can raise the most money to funnel to politicians that got us into this mess in the first place. Lobbying is already the biggest part of the NAR budget. With this picking of agents pockets over 50% of dues will go to soft money campaigns. It’s pure BS. If this is approved this RPAC Sterling R donor will never give to RPAC AGAIN

  6. Sig Buster, III GRI, CCIM

    When will Mr. Phipps ever learn the fundamentals of fundamental fairness? When you take CHOICE out of an issue, you then become a dictator / looter and then you cram something down the throats of the members. Your reasons don’t matter nor does the end justify the means. The overwhelming majority of the membership should matter, but our directors aren’t even returning calls or emails, so their decision has been made without caring what the membership they are suppose to represent wants. Mr. Phipps likes to point to the Banks in Real Estate. That was stopped without a forced contribution.
    AS has every other issue we have faced in our entire existence. Except for the forced dues participation this is a good bill and a good idea. By the way,Ii called and left my number for someone to call me. Well, I’m still waiting.

  7. Jenny Olivo

    Analyzing the situation, at this moment I do not think is the right moment to raise the dues and use it for political matters. We should focus in retaining our members and in those states where is not obligatory being a REALTOR having massive campaign to recruit new members. If we keep losing members we will not continue being the biggest association in United States. It’s not good raising the dues.
    Right now every state association has to give every year $4.50 for RPAC for each member they have even if they do not give de donation voluntarily to the local Board. Personalize the awareness campaign in each state and territories and you will get more members , more money.

  8. As a realtor, we’re trying to move property to keep the industry afloat. Realtors are not able to list/sell property, if banks continue to change regulations and game plans. Realtors also cannot move property when listing agents want to hold properties, being dishonest about current status’s of properties, so they are able to double-end their listings.

  9. Everyone is missing the bigger picture. If your profession is Real Estate then you must become more active in the politics that drive our industry. Together we have a voice otherwise no one cares; I promise you that!

  10. Nancy Linder

    So, after the uproar of members totally against the “REALTOR Political Party”, the NAR Executive Committee voted to move on with it– surprise, surprise! They already made their decision before even presenting it to the members. They have political pockets they want to fill and mandated member dues are just the way to do it! NAR completely disgusts me!

  11. Are we becoming a union?

  12. Alan Mackenthun

    I am appalled that NAR is trying to raise membership fees even higher to allow for even more political slush funds. Of course one reason I’m upset is that I vehemently disagree with all of the positions they’re lobbying for. The MID as well as the vast majority of other deductions and tax credits need to go so overall tax rates can be lowered boosting the overall economy out of the malaise that we’ll be stuck in long term if things keep going as they are. Fannie and Freddie need to go. There is no constitutional role for the federal government in housing. If states want to institute programs, that’s their decision, but the federal’s governments intrusion into the residential mortgage market is a big part of the reason we’re in the mess we’re in this kind of over-reach cannot be afforded with the deficits we’re now running. The fact that Mr. Phipps fails to even mention the 3.8% tax Obamacare tax on home sales profits betrays his political leanings. If NAR is listening to it’s members, this will not be approved.

  13. David Omvig

    By increasing the dues for political fighting we can join the Chamber of Commerce as being the biggest backers of the Republican party without any decision being made by our members. Why call it paying for lobbying when it is actually just bribing our elected officials. Enough, Enough.

  14. Michael Park

    In Texas TAR told everybody to vote REPUBLICAN …Ha they got what they asked for and now they are crying!

  15. I am totally against raising Realtor dues for something like this. In fact, given the decrease in earnings most realtors have experienced (due to severly reduced volume, along with downward pressure on comissions in general), the association should be looking for ways to CUT expenses like every other business has had to do. Less paper magazines, less staff, reduce rents etc. The association needs to get realistic, instead of more, more ,more!

  16. BTW, my understanding is that the 3.8% tax ONLY applies to those who sell a home for a PROFIT of over 500,000 ( married couple) AND earn over $250,000. A relatively small group….

  17. Sue Storm

    I choose where my political contributions go. This is outrageous. I can assure you, the influence peddling that NAR will undertake would never show up on my own political barometer.

  18. The money spent mailing the Realtor magazine (we get 3 in our family!) could be used for this fund. The magazine could be put online for those realtors who would like to read it. Go a step further and cut out the magazine altogether and use those funds to better our business as a whole (maybe even reduce the dues?). I don’t think I’m alone in that I hoard the magazines for a year thinking I’ll get around to them – and then put them in the recycle bin – unread!

  19. While I agree the MID needs to be protected along with other programs that encourage home-ownership, the NAR needs to be more forthcoming to its members in respect to the lawmakers who oppose these programs. The question was asked, but skirted by saying the answer would give ammunition to the opposition. I don’t buy that. We need transparency. Yes, we need to also look at the big picture, and like all citizens real estate practitioners need to stand up for what they believe in, but on a personal level. I have a problem with forced contributions that will be put into the pockets of politicians based solely on their platform relating to housing issues. I want the opportunity to weigh my decisions on political contributions against my overall core values.

  20. After 15 years as a salesperson/associate broker, I have determined that NAR has become too politicized and functions as too big a lobbying body. I have yet to see a government program ( taxpayer funded ) that NAR doesn’t ” jump in on “. I don’t see how NAR is actually contributing in a meaningful way to a real estate recovery. By way of example, NAR, backed the first time homebuyers credit program. In a recent WSJ editorial it was determined that $ 500,000,000. dollars ( that’s right ! half a billion dollars ) was given to “unqualified buyers “, some were actually ” serving time “, or were minors when they received the credits. NOW, the Gov’t. must backtrack all these transactions. I also reccommend a WSJ editorial of 4/16 entitled ” The Right Foreclosure Fix ” for its insight..And now we have DPR ! more taxpayers funds, when does this farce stop. I’d like to know if I can OPT OUT of membership in NAR..

  21. Gary Pafford

    It is WRONG for any PROFESSIONAL Association to make POLITICAL Donations Mandatory! I find it very offensive that NAR is even considering this…I am already reviewing my options–if this happens–and am heavily considering leaving the Association!
    Supporting Lobbyists and buying Politicians is not what I consider a Democracy!…and it sure is NOT the reason I joined NAR!

  22. Paul Weston

    For years, my state and local association gave campaign contributions to a State Senator who SUPPORTED RENT CONTROL!. This State Senator is now in jail for a whole host of crimes she committed while in office. Please explain to me why you need more money again?

  23. Lewis Sifford

    I think it sounds like leadership is out of touch with members. There are no comments in favor of this.There needs to be more direct contact with members,and listen to them.
    I personly want to know how it makes sense to collect large sums at the national level with the promise to send most of it back to locals. If the locals need the funding let them ask for it,but do not collect a large pool only to find enough causes to spend it.
    These are the toughest times we have seen in years.To ask us for more when we do not have it is out of touch.

  24. Theresa Moore

    We have the government digging deeper in our pockets and now NAR. If this goes through don’t expect anymore of a RPAC donation from me. I don’t like being told how or what I stand for or who I stand behind in Real Estate. Stay out of my pocket!

  25. Thanks to everyone for the thought-provoking comments on the political survival initiative. We’ll be sure to share your comments with NAR political affairs staff and leadership.

    Kathy and JC: With regard to the 3.8% Medicare tax, it doesn’t apply at all to profit on the sale of a primary residence. It’s a tax on investment income above $500,000 for people with gross income above $200,000 (or above $250,000 for married filing jointly). Rob Freedman, who wrote this blog post, also did a video on the subject of the Medicare tax. Here’s a link: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid21418263001?bclid=31792087001&bctid=686768741001

    Bev, I’m sorry to hear the magazine is going unread. Do you find the articles aren’t worthwhile – or you just don’t have the time? We’re very cognizant of both costs and sustainability. On the cost side, our goal is always to use no member dues to produce the magazine — and we succeeded for many years. Today, in a very tough advertising environment, NAR has calculated that $5 of your dues goes to pay for all our communications to members – including the magazine, REALTOR.org, REALTOR Magazine Online, and the e-newsletters we produce. On the sustainability side, our printer has implemented a variety of green initiatives, such as reducing paper waste, making the binding and mailing process more efficient, and using soy inks. We do need to address the problem of three copies coming to your house.

  26. Margie MacDonald, ABR, Green

    No, no, no, no, no to mandatory political contributions! Quit “feeing” us to death, NAR!

  27. John Rakoci

    This is rediculous and should be illegal! I give to the PERSON I choose, not party. I do NOT want NAR spending MY money on people I do not support. Many that NAR have supported over the years have not been my choice.
    NAR heard what the members wanted and ignored it. We cannot support anyone because of one issue while they are negative on many others.
    It seems NAR wants to be nothing but a political lobby organization to party at members expense.
    I think it is time for an organization interested in the wishes of the members comes into being.
    The yearly fees on designations should stop. I’ll be preparing to see 2012 or 2013 at the latest is the last I pay NAR dues.

  28. Stacey,
    I think we are speaking of the same thing. Profit on a home in excess of 500K is investment income and subject to the new tax ONLY if a couples income exceeds 250K ( again a small %). I think NAR is missing the whole point of all of these comments. NAR should look for ways to REDUCE fees ( again by cutting expenses, if not the magazines, cut staff, close offices, run less ineffective TV advertising that is very expensive.)
    The idea of making political donations mandatory is not going to fly with the membership. Please listen to your members.

  29. Regarding the “Republican”comments…I was sent a interesting website called opensecrets.org which states it is the center for responsive politics – It shows NAR was the largest PAC contributor to candidates 2009-2010. Amt was $3,791,296 with 55% going to Democrates and 44% going to Republicans – So don’t assume they are giving everything to Republicans. Anyway check it out for other tidbits of info. that may also make you curious or sick!!!!

  30. Let me say this loud and clear: I DO NOT SUPPORT AN INCREASE IN DUES FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES! NO NO NO NO NO…

  31. Michael Park, your post “In Texas TAR told everybody to vote REPUBLICAN …Ha they got what they asked for and now they are crying!” is far from true. TAR never, I repeat never told us to vote republican. Substantiate your claim sir or withdraw it please.

    NAR cannot continue the practice of supporting those in Washington that work against the real estate industry. When NAR supports those that pushed the GSE’s to the point of collapse, when NAR supports issues that the membership does not support and without the consent of the membership they have to expect the backlash they’re getting about ths recent move on dues.

  32. Charles Penn

    Stacey, you said “With regard to the 3.8% Medicare tax, it doesn’t apply at all to profit on the sale of a primary residence.” That is not true.
    In a Business Report from NAR on 4/6/2010: “What was included in the health bill is a provision that imposes a new 3.8% Medicare tax for some high income households that have “net investment income.” Any revenue collected by the tax is dedicated to the Medicare hospital insurance program. This new tax will only apply to households with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of more than $200,000 for individuals or more than $250,000 for married couples.

    Since capital gains are included in the definition of net investment income, an additional tax obligation might result from the sale of real property.

    In the case of the sale of a principal residence, the existing $250,000/$500,000 exclusion from capital gains on the sale of a principal residence remains unchanged. Consequently, even when the AGI limits are met, the new tax would not be applied to all capital gains that result from the sale of a home. Rather, it would only apply to any home sale gain realized in excess of the $250K/$500K existing primary home exclusion that pushes the filer’s AGI over the $200K/$250K adjusted gross income limit.”

  33. Dick Parins

    So if I don’t pay this $40 for the NAR political initiatives I can’t be in the local MLS so I am out of business. Doesn’t sound legal to me. If we don’t pay up in support of your political views you will be prevent us from participating in the MLS and thereby prevent us from earning a living. Can you say Class Action lawsuit?

  34. Kimberly Dotseth

    Everyone STILL hates it! I hope leadership (if you can call them that at this point???) is paying attention. Because if they pass this on May 14th they should all have their real estate licenses taken away and be shipped off to a desert island somewhere.

  35. Lynn Ferina

    MESSAGE TO NAR Regarding DUES INCREASE.
    In my opinion it is way out of line for our Association to make POLITICAL donations mandatory. I am totally against raising Realtor dues to use for political purposes. I would be against raising dues for any purpose during these very trying times, when Realtors are struggling as it is to keep afloat. We’re not paying dues for NAR to be a political lobbying body and we certainly shouldn’t be mandated to pay for political funding against our wishes. Are we becoming unionized? I hope not, but seriously questions the fact that NAR is even considering such a move. Most of us didn’t join the association to fund politicians. I would question if it’s even legal to mandate political contributions.

  36. It seems to be the same old story — Demcrat style. Tell’em the sky is falling … and we all fall in line.

  37. Mike Fabisch

    I find it fascinating that just before this was announced, our local association changed MLS usernames to NRDS #. Now , not only does it seem we will be forced to pay for political tampering, we can’t even quit the association in protest or we will lose access to MLS. I find this association loathsome. If this is passed, I will definately pursue alternative solutions.

  38. No, No, No, and NO WHAT PART OF THE NO YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE n OR THE o.

  39. Doug Wasson

    Class Action Lawsuit: Lets do it if they pass this increase. I will work with the States and Local Boards. Lets make the National People come to us. Look like a mass EXIT, in the works, to me

  40. ROBERT cASTLES

    There are many items the NAR and local board try to support which I am opposed to.. I belive it is illegal to require a person to fund a political agenda they are opposed to. So I will not support NAR or PRO political positions.

  41. The easy way to take care of anything is to increase costs. Which is the same thing the government does when they don’t have enough to do everything they want to do. Whatever happened to creativity? Or diverting money from one area to help in another? I expect much more from our association leadership than to think the only answer is for us to contribute more money each year. But hey, it sure is an easy way to generate $40,000,000 isn’t it? Like shooting fish in a barrel! And if it’s this easy, when will it stop?

  42. Carolyn Caudill

    HOW MUCH MONEY DID WE CONTRIBUTE TO OBAMA IN 2008?

    How do you like that new NAR Washington D>C> office?

  43. kria

    We have to do this now. Otherwise most of us will be working elsewhere. “Everything’s going to be put on the backs of point-of-sale,” says Beth Peerce, president of the California Association of REALTORS®. ” That is something I am really concerned with and the banks taking over our business. I support this.

  44. I am glad that some of the yearly dues where I live are “optional” but I wonder how long they will remain that way. I dont think that political donations should be mandatory by realtors. I would much rather be forced to make a dontation to St. Judes or to the Humane Society.. but to politics?

  45. If NAR is upset that “soft money spigots have been turned on full blast” by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United vs FEC, then they can donate to “Move to Amend” , which is a national coalition of organiaztions and over 113,000 individuals whose primary objective is to seek a constitutional amendment that would restrict corporations and corporate interest groups from excessive influence in elections and lawmaking.
    We are appreciative of the fine EDUCATION that NAR offers us in order to protect our right to sell real estate, but please don’t diminish the power of “one man, one vote” concept which is the underpinning of a democratic society BY VOTING FOR US. Although I frequently disagreed with RPAC’s positions which often promoted over development and environmental disregard (too bad because if you take care of the land, it will take care of you; no sinkholes produced by infill of wetlands and over developement; no flooding as a result of global warming/ extreme weather), at least RPAC was VOLUNTARY!!!

  46. Dick

    Realistically I cannot work in the real estate industry without participating in the MLS and I cannot participate in the MLS without paying this “Realtor Party” ransom. I am paying my dues today and $211 of it is going directly for political lobbying the thrust of which is determined by the leadership of the NAR and the WRA with negligible input from the membership. They claim they want our input but if you read this thread it could not be more clear that the leadership is not listening. The arrogance and fear mongering behind this dedicated dues increase is really disappointing.

  47. Donna Anderson

    I am appalled at this dramatic increase in dues that NAR has instituted. It is time to listen to the majority of your membership!

  48. Shari Posey

    This is the second time I have submitted this request: Where can I get a detailed account of which candidates and political parties got money from NAR and how much each received?

  49. Robert Freedman

    Shari, I sent you an e-mail with this information.

    Best,

    Rob Freedman

  50. Clay Miller

    I stopped donating to our RPAC two years ago when I learned that in both cases my local Association used those funds to endorse two candidates who had voting records which were anti-business/free market and they actually chose NOT to endorse a fellow Realtor who was running for Senator. It made absolutely no sense at all, in fact it was “suicidal” to our own organization. Before they solicited the donations they spent money hiring a firm to survey & poll us Realtors with the result being that the two pro-real estate candidates were endorsed by us members, but then the association turned around and endorsed the opposition instead. It couldn’t have been more corrupt. That was the last day I gave to RPAC. Hearing those ads on the radio using MY Association’s name and MY dollars to endorse anti-Realtor candidates was a nightmare come true.

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