Issues & AdvocacyFederal
WHERE THEY STAND:
THE CANDIDATES ON THE ISSUES
Allowing Small Businesses to Thrive
By Andrew Goldberg, Managing Director, Government Relations & Outreach
Small architecture firms and sole practitioners work in every community in the country to help homeowners and businesses design better buildings. Architecture is by and large a small business profession: 95 percent of architecture firms in the United States employ 50 or fewer people. Every architect hired to design a project leads to nearly 30 other jobs in engineering, construction, and other building trades.
However, the triple challenges of the recession, high tax rates, and burdensome paperwork have forced many small firms to shut their doors. Federal policies that affect the design and construction industry should ensure that small design firms have the tools they need to thrive.
Small design firms provide the federal government with new ideas and talent to solve large design challenges. However, when the federal government uses Design-Build as a procurement methodology, small firms can be shut out. On average, it costs $260,000 for a firm to prepare a design-build solicitation. When agencies require five to 10 firms to compete for one project, the odds of recouping those funds become exceedingly slim. As a result, many small firms are effectively blocked from entering the federal marketplace. The AIA urges both parties to update federal law to limit the number of finalists in design-build competitions, which will enable more small design firms to take part.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
OBAMA. The Democratic Party’s 2012 platform proposes “cutting taxes for small businesses that invest and hire”. In addition, it states that “Democrats have helped small businesses provide health insurance to their workers with a tax credit to help pay for the cost of coverage. In 2014, the tax credit will grow and small businesses will be able to pool their purchasing power together to get affordable coverage.”
The platform also notes that the Democrats are “looking to make our government leaner, smarter, and more consumer-friendly” through government consolidation and reorganization. It states that “President Obama has also called for an ambitious, transparent, and unprecedented government-wide review of existing federal regulations to eliminate unnecessary rules. In response, more than two dozen agencies have released plans to streamline existing requirements. Just a small fraction of these initiatives will save billions of dollars in the near future without sacrificing consumer protections, the environment, workplace safety, or health. . . . For too long, overlapping responsibilities among agencies have made it harder, rather than easier, for our small businesses to interact with their government.”
ROMNEY. The Republican Party’s 2012 platform states that “America’s small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy” and that “small businesses are the leaders in the world’s advances in technology and innovation, and we pledge to strengthen that role and foster small business entrepreneurship. The platform supports using a variety of concepts to assist small businesses, from reforming the tax code to encouraging investment to “creat(ing) an environment where adequate financing and credit are available.”
The platform states that Republicans “will empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools in order to expand [health insurance] coverage to the uninsured.”
THE AIA’S TAKE
The AIA supports policies that open doors for small design firms to create jobs and economic opportunity in every community in the country. The AIA strongly opposes policy proposals that discriminate against small architecture firms and place barriers in the way of their survival. The AIA urges both parties to recognize the unique needs of smaller architecture firms as they develop and implement policy proposals, and oppose proposals that disproportionately affect small firms.
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Government & Community Relations Archive:
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