A delegation from the Jewelers of America Political Action Committee (JAPAC) visited lawmakers in Washington, D.C., for the fifth consecutive year on June 17.
The main topic of discussion was the newly introduced sales tax fairness bill, the Remote Transaction Parity Act (RTPA), which would require online retailers to charge sales tax. The bill, popularly called e-fairness, was introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, on June 15, and JAPAC members were able to speak with him during their visit.
“Traditional jewelers are losing sales to online competitors because we are required to collect sales tax on purchases made in our stores. We want to be able to compete with these sellers on a level playing field,” said JAPAC board chair Jenny Caro, owner of Jewelry by Design in Woodbridge, Va. “We applaud Congressman Chaffetz for introducing legislation that will enable us to do so.”
The meetings also addressed the protection of last-in, first-out (LIFO), an accounting practice that gives many jewelers a tax break that the Obama administration and some legislators have repeatedly sought to repeal.
Members of the JAPAC delegation included Jewelers of America president and CEO David Bonaparte and director of public affairs and education Susan Thea Posnock plus members Brian Alter of Alter’s Gem Jewelry, Beaumont, Texas; Jenny Caro of Jewelry by Design, Woodbridge, Va.; Bill Farmer Jr. of Farmer’s Jewelry, Lexington, Ky.; Michael and Eva Greene of Wick & Greene, Asheville, N.C.; Missy Krauss of Signet Jewelers Ltd., Akron, Ohio; Brian Mann of David Mann Jewelers, Potomac, Md.; and Betsy Wolgemuth of Koser Jewelers, Mount Joy, Pa.
Members of Congress that they met with included: Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio; Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas; Rep. Randy Weaver, R-Texas; Rep. George Holding, R-N.C.; Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill.; Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.