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Read the AIA Federal Issue Briefs

Removing Barriers to Private Sector Lending

Saving Energy, Creating Jobs

Helping Small Firms Grow

Revitalizing America's Neighborhoods

America’s architects are the leading edge of a design and construction industry that directly employs more than seven million Americans and accounts for one in nine dollars of Gross Domestic Product. Before a single brick is laid, or a girder raised into place, an architect is on the job making sure that the buildings we build and use are safe, healthy, efficient and beautiful.

Architects are by and large small businesspeople: ninety-five percent of architecture firms in the United States employ 50 or fewer people.

Meeting the challenges our communities face – lost jobs, outdated and unsafe infrastructure, abandoned buildings and neighborhoods, rising energy costs, and distressed main streets – demands a strong design and construction industry that is ready and able to get back to work.

For more than 150 years, the AIA has served as the voice of not only America’s archietcts, but of the millions of people who depend upon them to design safe and sustainable buildings. The more than 75,000 members of the AIA are committed to advancing policies that promote economic growth and job creation. More than that, AIA architects and allied professionals are working in every community across the country to revitalize neighborhoods, conserve precious resources and make the country competitive again.

AIA members are doing their part to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future. But we need Congress and the Administration to act, as well – to remove regulatory barriers that prevent our industry from getting back to work; to reform outdated laws and regulations that hold us back; and to advance policies that support sustainable economic growth in all our communities.

Working together, architects and policymakers can help rebuild the American dream.


Removing Barriers to Private Sector Lending

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Thousands of needed construction projects that would employ millions of Americans are on hold because credit is frozen. Banks, especially smaller community banks, want to lend but report that federal regulators are making it difficult. The AIA is doing its part to help make financing available with its Stalled Projects website, launched in 2011, to match building projects to investors.

Now Congress needs to do its part by reigning in regulatory overkill. In particular, Congress needs to pass legislation such as the Capital Access for Main Street Act, which would help prevent large numbers of commercial foreclosures and free up credit to help small business get back to work. In addition, the AIA calls on the administration to help job creation by working to ensure that regulators do not unfairly block financing for worthy projects. Read the issue brief.


Saving Energy, Creating Jobs

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Across the country, building owners, state and local governments and school districts want to lower energy bills by retrofitting their buildings. AIA member firms are answering the call by signing up for the AIA 2030 Commitment to develop plans to ensure their projects and practices meet far-reaching green goals.

But with financing still hard to come by, many worthy projects remain on the drawing boards. The federal Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction has helped owners build and retrofit thousands of buildings to make them save money through lower energy bills. Congress can spur tens of thousands of more jobs by increasing the value of the deduction from the current $1.80sf to $3.00sf and by making changes that make the deduction easier to use by more people.

In addition, the Administration can help increase use of the deduction by providig technical guidance to federal, state and local agencies on using it as a financing tool to save taxpayers money through lower energy bills in government-owned buildings. Read the issue brief.


Helping Small Firms Grow

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Small architecture firms and sole practitioners work in every community in the country to help homeowners and businesses design better buildings. But high taxes and burdensome paperwork hold them back. In 2010, the AIA helped defeat a plan to increase payroll taxes on thousands of small architecture firms that organize as S corporations. In 2011, the AIA helped repeal burdensome paperwork and tax withholding laws that would place huge burdens on small firms.

As Congress looks to reform the tax code and reduce the budget deficit, it needs to ensure that tax rates on small entrepreneurs are reduced and prevent any other efforts to penalize smaller design firms. In addition, the AIA calls on the Administration to help small firms thrive by recognizing their unique needs as it develops rules and policies on small business lending and government procurement, including efforts by the U.S. Small Business Administration to change the size standards for architecture firms. Read the issue brief.


Revitalizing America’s Neighborhoods

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Crumbling infrastructure, high unemployment and rising congestion have hurt our nation’s communities, reducing safety and increasing pollution. Outdated federal transportation laws and tax policies have slowed projects down, deprived the public of a voice in the planning process, and forced Americans to spend more time in their cars. Architects have a long record of providing solutions that get our communities moving again. The AIA is committed to helping communities plan for more vibrant, safe and sustainable futures through its Design Assistance Team program, which celebrates its 45th anniversary this year.

But we need Washington to act. Congress needs to pass transportation reform legislation this year that gives people the ability to create and sustain prosperous communities with real choices in transportation options. The AIA also urges the administration to ensure that lending standards account for the kinds of mixed-use developments that communities need in order to bring back economic vitality and jobs. Read the issue brief.


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