N.Y. State Comptroller: Industry Should Sound Off About Luxury Tax

Noting that New York State’s new budget proposal includes a “luxury tax” on jewelry items, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli urged the industry to make its voice heard at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee’s annual luncheon, held Friday at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

“[Governor David Paterson] made it clear this is a tough budget in response to a tough time,” DiNapoli said. “There is ample time to have debate, discussion, and improve on what is out there. If you have a concern, share it. If you have a concern as an industry, come together. Be engaged in the debate and the discussion. The governor is willing to work in partnership with you.”

On the economy, DiNapoli noted that “we are still in tough times” and added, “I can’t say when it’s going to end.”

“We have all seen downturns but this one feels like it has a tighter grip,” he said. “We need to keep perspective. We will get through this. It’s just a question of how we ride out this tough time.”

He praised the incoming Administration, saying, “It is time we had leadership that understands the magnitude of the problem.” He added: “I have full confidence in this state’s and this country’s future.”

He also saluted the Jewelers Vigilance Committee’s focus on ethics, noting “ethics is something we all have to take greater care of and pay more attention to.”

Cecilia Gardner, the organization’s president, chief executive officer, and general counsel, also gave the organization’s Stanley Schechter Award to Sue Saarnio, the State Department’s former Special Advisor for Conflict Diamonds.

The group also released its new “Essential Guide to Advertising Law.”

JVC chairman Eli Haas also spoke and noted that the JVC had played a crucial role in working with the government.