Jewelers of America Lobbies Lawmakers on Critical IssuesJune 27, 13
(IDEX Online News) –The Jewelers of America Political Action Committee (JAPAC) visited Washington, D.C. recently with a delegation of jewelers. This marked the third time that JAPAC has led a delegation of retailers to the capital to share their views on key legislative issues that affect the industry.
The day’s discussion focused on sales tax fairness. In May, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. This legislation is designed to 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 it faces stronger opposition than in the Senate.
"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,” explained Bill Farmer of Farmer’s Jewelers in Lexington, KY in support of the Act. “It's bad business for independent jewelers like me to have to compete for customers' sales due to an unfair tax advantage."
"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 president & 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."
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), 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!'"
Besides e-fairnesss, discussions also focused on 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.