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The cost of political success

Thursday, August 4, 2011  
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By Michael Kidd

By now you are all probably aware that the National Association of REALTORS® is going to increase members' dues by $40 per year, starting with dues collection in 2011. The entire amount is going toward advocacy and political efforts on the national, state, and local levels. There's even an umbrella name for the grouping of such efforts, and you'll probably be hearing a lot about it: the REALTOR® Party Political Initiative (RPPI).

NAR created the initiative because it believes that economic recovery depends on a real estate recovery. REALTORS® must immediately address the national regulatory, legislative, and political issues that threaten the real estate industry. In addition, NAR believes REALTORS® must have the power and resources to shape local issues such as zoning, taxes, and private property rights.
NAR is also taking advantage of a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court Ruling (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) that now allows corporate (dues) dollars to be invested for candidate independent expenditure campaigns.

The REALTOR® Political Party Initiative is expected to generate nearly $40 million per year. About 27 percent of RPPI money will be used for bi-partisan candidate funding purposes (RPPI is a complement to RPAC, not a replacement). The other 73 percent will be dedicated to services and funding needs for advocacy, voter records database use, and grassroots outreach. RPPI will address monumental public policy issues such as the future of mortgage finance, short sales, and access to affordable insurance.

There is an enormous amount of information on the NAR website about the REALTOR® Party Political Initiative and the $40 dues increase that will support it. If you cannot find what you are looking for there (www.realtor.org/politicalsurvival), please feel to contact me with your questions at any time.

This article was written by ORRA CEO Michael Kidd for the July/August 2011 issue of Orlando REALTOR® magazine. He can be reached at michaelk@orlrealtor.com.

NAR Dues Usage Breakdown

NAR concentrates its dues income ($80 per member, not including the $40 increase) in five key areas:

  • Advocating for issues;
  • Performing market and economic research;
  • Promoting the value of working with a REALTOR® to the public;
  • Helping REALTORS® understand their industry and improve their businesses; and
  • Supporting REALTORS® at the state and local levels.

Here's a complete breakdown of NAR's dues spending ($80 per member, not including the $40 increase):

  • $23 – legislative and regulatory advocacy;
  • $15 – consumer and media relationship building;
  • $15 – state and local association services and support;
  • $10 – economic and technological research;
  • $7 – REALTOR® Code of Ethics, legal policy, and enforcement;
  • $5 – publications and website; and
  • $5 – commercial and international alliance partnerships.

NAR's other services and functions — such as education, governance, and the NAR website — are all supported by non-dues revenue.


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