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JA's Political Action Committee Visits Washington

Jun 24, 2013 3:20 PM   By Jewelers of America
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Press Release: The Jewelers of America Political Action Committee (JAPAC) led a delegation of jewelers to Washington, D.C. last week in order to meet one-on-one with lawmakers. It was the third consecutive year JAPAC held the fly-in, which gave jewelers the opportunity to share their views on key legislative issues that affect the industry. The meetings took place on Wednesday, June 19.

As in past years, much of the day's discussion centered upon sales tax fairness, which would level the playing field between online and brick-and-mortar businesses. The issue is currently at the forefront on Capitol Hill. In May, the Senate easily passed the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, legislation that would finally close the Internet sales tax loophole that continues to hurt traditional jewelry businesses. This legislation is now being considered by the House of Representatives, where if faces stronger opposition than in the Senate.

"This is a critical time for jewelry businesses, with legislators seriously considering the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act, the ongoing threat of LIFO repeal and the possibility of major tax reform in the near-term," said JA's president and CEO, David J. Bonaparte. "The Capitol Hill fly-in was a great opportunity to get these issues -- and especially jewelers' views on them -- in front of key decision-makers in D.C."

In addition to Bonaparte, the group consisted of JA's director of public affairs, Susan Thea Posnock, and members of the JAPAC's board and JA's board of directors.

Jewelers such as Bill Farmer of Farmer's Jewelers in Lexington, Kentucky, made their case in support of e-fairness: "The margins on diamonds have narrowed, and the difference between in-store sales tax and online tax-free prices can keep me from closing a lot of sales. It's bad business for independent jewelers like me to have to compete for customers' sales due to an unfair tax advantage," he explained. Passage of sales tax fairness would mean brick-and-mortar retailers wouldn't enter the sale discussion with this kind of tax disadvantage.

Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat from Illinois), a co-sponsor of the Marketplace Fairness Act, met with the JAPAC group during dinner and advised them to keep pressing for passage of the bill. "You've got to explain to the House members what this means to local businesses and tell them, 'you say you're for small business, prove it to me,'" he said.

Besides e-fairnesss, discussions centered around protection of LIFO -- the last in, first-out accounting method. With tax reform and deficit reduction at the top of the agenda in D.C., LIFO repeal is an attractive revenue raising option for some legislators and the Obama administration, which has repeatedly sought repeal.

The meetings were part of a day long agenda that included presentations from a D.C. fundraiser and a staff representative from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Two JAPAC fundraising events were also organized by JA's D.C.-based legislative counsel, Haake & Associates.

The following JAPAC and/or JA board members took part in the trip:

Ryan Berg, Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry; San Antonio, Texas (JAPAC board, JA board vice chair)
Jon Bridge, Ben Bridge Jeweler; Seattle, Washington (JAPAC board, past JA board director)
Coleman Clark, B.C. Clark; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (JA board director)
Jeff Corey, Day's Jewelers; Waterville, Maine (JAPAC board vice chair)
Bill Farmer, Farmer's Jewelers; Lexington, Kentucky (JAPAC board, JA board of directors chairman-elect)
Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler; Palo Alto, California (JA board chair)
John Henne, Henne Jewelers; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (JA board director)

JAPAC is the only PAC that supports the fine jewelry industry in Washington, D.C. To learn more, visit www.jewelers.org/japac/
 
 
 
About Jewelers of America 
Jewelers of America (JA) is the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry retail marketplace, with the primary purpose of improving consumer confidence in the jewelry industry. JA's consumer education arm, Jewelry Information Center (JIC), has provided public relations and marketing services on behalf of the fine jewelry and watch industry since 1946. Visit www.jewelers.org and www.JIC.org for more information. 
 
 
Rapaport News is not responsible for, and does not endorse, the content of any third-party press release. This is not a Rapaport Press Release. It has been provided as additional information for our clients.


 

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Tags: Jewelers of America, lobby, political action, super pac, Washington
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