WTH is RPAC, Anyway?
We had a presentation at our local Association’s Annual Meeting about RPAC, its significance and why, even in these tough financial times, it is important to support it with as many dollars as we can spare. For those who don’t know, the RPAC is an acronym for REALTORS Political Action Committee. I am sure you have folks from your local Association asking you to support RPAC, but do you know what it is and why it is so important? Why should you care about Political Action?
If you ask me, RPAC is an investment in your business. If you pay close enough attention, you will find many example of the kinds of things that RPAC influences. Nationally, and most recently, you may have received an email call to action to support NARs recent economic and housing stimulus recommendation. Hopefully you followed through and encouraged your Senators and Congressmen to support this. You can be sure that your voice will be heard because RPAC dollars and efforts have already earned the attention of many of these representatives already.
Local Issues / Local Impact
In my opinion, though, RPAC is most effective and potentially business and life-altering at the state and local levels. RPAC campaigns here in Pennsylvania have made a major impact on decisions made by municipalities, counties and states.
For example, our Pennsylvania Legislature considered a Bill to raise the real estate transfer tax (RTT) to help fund mass transit. This increased tax, which is collected upon the sale of all real estate in the state, would effectively raise the cost of the average home by $5,000 to $10,000. This is not appreciation being realized by wise investors and homeowners, mind you, this is TAX being collected by the State. Since the tax must be paid in a lump sum at settlement, closing costs for buyers and sellers would be hugely impacted, potentially doubling the amount of tax due at closing (there is already a 2% RTT in place and some municipalities, like the City of Philadelphia, charge even more). Needless to say to all you real estate types reading this, an increase like this would put a huge burden on property owners and the real estate market across the entire State.
PAR (Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS), in conjunction with RPAC, orchestrated a massive effort to inform voters of this proposal, including calls to action, a website dedicated to the issue called VoteNoOnRTT.com, alliances with the Builders Association and other groups, and the mobilization of its 30,000+ members across the State. The result? A loud and clear message to our elected officials that this tax increase would not be tolerated. The Bill died a deserved death.
Furthermore, Representatives in Harrisburg learned a big lesson: Don’t mess with the REALTORS (this is an actual statement from a Representative from my area).
The REALTOR Party FTW!
This is just one specific example of how RPAC supports the rights of homeowners and helps our business. Your RPAC contribution buys us a seat at the table in any important legislative discussion…locally, at the state level and federally. Money raised by RPAC is not used to support the Democratic Party, or the Republican Party, or any other party except the REALTOR Party. We should all be proud of RPAC because it is one of the few PACs that really helps consumers. Our issues are homeowners’ issues, and we staunchly support private property rights, advocate for issues supporting property appreciation, and look out for things which can interfere with real estate transactions, like grossly inflated RTT’s.
I’m sure if you look hard enough, you can find examples where RPAC and the power of the REALTOR Party have made a difference in your area. What kind of issues do you know of that have already been addressed? What kind of issues are coming up that could use the support of RPAC?