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Jewelers Meet with Leaders on Capitol Hill About Synthetic Diamonds, Sales Tax Fairness

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Jewelers of America’s political action committee holds sixth annual D.C. fly-in.

The Jewelers of America Political Action Committee (JAPAC) led a delegation of jewelers to Washington, D.C., for the sixth consecutive year, hitting the halls of Congress to discuss key issues for the jewelry industry. This year’s meetings – which connected jewelers with 50 lawmakers and legislative staff in advance of the 2016 elections – took place on Wednesday, June 15.

In addition to focusing on perennial issues that affect the bottom line of a jewelry business, the JAPAC delegation took the opportunity to sound off on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) proposed changes to the Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries. Jewelers of America is opposed to a change that would allow the use of “cultured” when describing synthetic diamonds. Lawmakers expressed interest in supporting JA’s position on the FTC’s proposed changes, with Rep. Steve Stivers (OH-15), noting his support and willingness to discuss with his fellow lawmakers how they might help advance the jewelry industry’s concerns about the issue.

Sales tax fairness remained a top point of discussion, as jewelers pushed for passage of legislation – the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA) in the House and the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) in the Senate – which would level the playing field on taxation between online and brick-and-mortar businesses. The JAPAC delegation met with key supporters, like Stivers, and Reps. Mia Love (UT-4) and Ted Poe (TX-2) – all co-sponsors of the RTPA – and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), who voted in favor of the measure when it passed the Senate in 2013.

“We are hopeful that the tide is turning on sales tax fairness,” says JAPAC Board Chair Jenny Caro, owner of Jewelry by Designs in Woodbridge, VA. “However, we need the jewelry industry to come together and really push this to the finish line.”

The meetings were part of a two-day agenda that included a private tour of the U.S. Capitol building, presentations from political strategists from both sides of the aisle and two JAPAC fundraising events.

To learn more about Jewelers of America legislative advocacy and JAPAC, visit www.jewelers.org/ja/advocacy.

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