New York State realtors make a play to tout local property tax cap

New York's local property taxes are 78% higher than the national average. Discussions on capping them had gone on for about 30 years, with no resolution.

Client: New York State Association of Realtors (Albany, NY)
PR agency: Eric Mower and Associates (Albany, NY)
Campaign: Cap That Tax
Duration: April-June 2011
Budget: $75,000

New York's local property taxes are 78% higher than the national average. Discussions on capping them had gone on for about 30 years, with no resolution.

Strategy
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) announced capping the tax as a priority, the New York State Association of Realtors reached out to Eric Mower and Associates.

The association sought to create a campaign while the topic was being debated in Albany to educate the public and encourage citizens to push local lawmakers to enact a law that limits the yearly tax increase to 2%.

Tactics
Eric Mower developed a game-show theme called "Cap That Tax." TV and radio ads ran state- wide featuring a host testing contestants' knowledge of state property taxes. The firm started a Twitter feed with daily tweets of news releases and "man-on-the-street" videos.

The firm managed the association's Facebook page, providing content members could share. TaxCapNY.com featured a property tax factsheet, videos, a Cap That Tax game, and an online advocacy tool that allowed visitors to write their state officials in support of the cap.

The agency downloaded all ads and videos onto an iPad and walked the association's executive director around the Legislative Correspondents Association office showing the ads to each reporter and giving one-on-one interviews.

Post-launch, the agency issued press releases and did a statewide editorial board tour. "At each stop, we brought in local realtors, as well as association leadership, to drive home how vital the issue is to each region," says Andrew Rush, senior counselor in the firm's public affairs group. "The fact so many people supported the cause was key."

Results
This past June, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed the property tax cap legislation and Gov. Cuomo signed it into law in July.

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