Work + Clients: NY State Association of Realtors

Tax cap public advocacy campaign

With a statewide radio, television, online and social media campaign, EMA helped the New York State Association of REALTORS convince Albany lawmakers to pass a 2% property tax cap.

Case Study Details

When the New York State Association of REALTORS (NYSAR) engaged Eric Mower + Associates, the idea of putting a cap on local property taxes in New York State had been talked about for 30 years — but never enacted.

Working on extremely tight deadlines and in close collaboration with NYSAR, EMA devised and executed a fully integrated advertising, marketing, public relations and social media campaign aimed at rallying public support around the idea that Albany lawmakers needed to enact a law that capped property tax increases at no more than 2% per year.

To cut through the clutter of typical “Albany-style” issue advocacy campaigns, EMA developed a game-show theme for the campaign titled “Cap That Tax.” The 30-second television and 60-second radio ads featured a host who tested contestants’ knowledge of property taxes in New York using a series of questions. The ads stood out, raised awareness of the issue, and educated many New Yorkers to the fact that they pay property taxes nearly 80% higher than the national average.

EMA created the concept, executed the ads, and strategically bought the time in a targeted, statewide media blitz.

To support the ad endeavor, EMA also created a campaign website, It featured a property tax fact sheet, person-on-the-street videos featuring real New York property owners, and an online advocacy tool that allowed people to write their state officials in support of the cap. To top it off, EMA created an interactive “Cap That Tax” game that allowed visitors to test their property tax knowledge and learn more about the issue.

Using aggressive earned media and social media tactics, EMA created value beyond a traditional ad campaign, and the results were tremendous. In a two-month period from April to June 2011, more than 5,000 letters were sent by fax and email to members of the New York State Legislature. Every legislator throughout the state heard from people in support of a cap.

More importantly — the campaign worked. In June 2011 the New York State Senate and Assembly passed the property tax cap legislation, and in July 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it into law.

Sean L. Casey Public Affairs

For the last 25 years, Sean has provided public affairs and public relations strategic counsel and tactical support to clients ranging from major corporations and law firms, to not-for-profit and higher education organizations.

  • (518) 618-1502
  • scasey at mower dot com