Press Release, NEW YORK: Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry retail marketplace, is pleased to announce that the Illinois State Legislature’s Revenue and Finance Committee will not move forward with HB 451, a bill that would have imposed a 5 percent luxury tax on fine jewelry and timepiece purchases over $20,000 in the state. “This is an important victory for jewelers in the state of Illinois. It sends a powerful message that the jewelry industry will not tolerate unfair tax legislation,” said Matthew A. Runci, JA president and chief executive officer (CEO).
JA targeted both members and nonmembers in an aggressive anti-luxury-tax letter and fundraising campaign, reaching out to its state affiliate, the Illinois Jewelers Association, and the nonaffiliated Chicago Jewelers Association. The association provided jewelry businesses with sample letter/petitions and the addresses of Illinois state legislators, including the bill’s sponsor, members of the committees considering the proposal and the state’s legislative leaders. Jewelers were urged to collect signatures from all of their employees to add to the letter/petitions, to underline the effect that a luxury tax could have on workers in the jewelry and watch industries. Runci applauded the response to the campaign, noting that the collective effort stopped the damaging legislation before it could gain momentum.
New York State Luxury Tax
The fight to stop a luxury tax in Illinois was part of a two-pronged effort on the part of JA, which has also targeted a similar luxury tax proposal in New York State’s budget bill (S00060). That proposal also calls for a 5 percent tax on jewelry and watches over $20,000.
JA continues to keep a close watch on the New York state legislature, for which it was joined in its efforts by the American Watch Association. The associations hired a lobbyist in the state capital of Albany to advocate on the industry’s behalf, and they continue to press legislators and governor David Paterson to drop the proposal from the final version of the budget. The New York State Jewelers Association is also pitching in, galvanizing its members to call or write their representatives. New York state jewelers and other interested parties can request background information and letter/petitions opposing the state’s proposed luxury tax by contacting JA’s public affairs department.
For more information, contact the Public Affairs Department:
Peggy Jo Donahue
Director of Public Affairs
Susan Thea Posnock
Public Affairs Manager
About Jewelers of America:
Jewelers of America is the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry retail marketplace, representing 11,000 member stores. Jewelers of America's primary purpose is to improve consumer confidence in the jewelry industry by: serving as a forum for discussion and analysis of issues; playing a leadership role in public, government and industry affairs; advocating professionalism, including high ethical, social and environmental standards; and facilitating members' access to education. For more information about Jewelers of America, visit
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