AIA urges small business relief, infrastructure investment
Members call on Congress to address pressing short- and long-term needs
AIA’s 95,000 members are committed to protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
The outbreak of COVID-19 and the current health crisis strikes at the very core of this mission. Those personally affected by the virus and our frontline responders need additional resources.
As Congress considers additional legislation to stimulate the economy, AIA’s members are calling on policymakers to include significant investments in 21st Century infrastructure and temporary relief measures for business owners. Both will provide much-needed relief in the short-term; reassurance to global markets; and will help prepare this country for the challenges ahead.
Relief for business owners and employees
To address pressing short-term economic needs, expansion of temporary relief for business owners is critical to avoid lay-offs and the sharp economic downturn that would follow. Architecture firms come in all sizes, but the majority are classified as small businesses. AIA urges the following relief for businesses:
- Small Business Interruption Loans for businesses under 500 employees to cover the costs of payroll while employees may not be able to work due to their own health concerns or the effects of social isolation on a massive scale.
- Increase access to unsecured credit to all employers so that they can cover costs associated with payroll, rent, and other obligations in the immediate term.
- Suspend the collection of business taxes, including payroll tax, for the duration of the pandemic.
- Suspend the current policy limiting what losses pass-through entities may deduct (Section 461(l)). Many architecture firms are pass-through entities, and they should be able to deduct all losses incurred this year in the next tax cycle.
Once this health crisis has been fully addressed, we will need sustained investment to revive the economy. Infrastructure investment is a powerful tool to stimulate the economy and provide reassurance to Americans that the coming days will be better. Infrastructure for the 21st Century should not only include investment in roads, bridges, and other horizontal infrastructure, though those updates are sorely needed. Today’s infrastructure investment must also include vertical infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, affordable housing, and other public buildings.
This global pandemic has laid bare the preexisting resource shortage currently facing many of these facilities. Buildings must be resilient in the face of these disasters, while also not further contributing to the generation of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to unhealthy air quality. We must expect more from the built environment than ever before. AIA urges policymakers to work with architects and other building professionals to meet the needs of 21st Century Infrastructure:
- Invest a minimum of $300 billion over five years in resilient vertical infrastructure.
- Work with architects and other professionals to modernize sanitation and change assumptions about public health practices.
- Reimagine design of public buildings and public spaces to encourage handwashing and enable social distancing as necessary.
- Address inequities in broadband coverage so that Americans in all regions have equal access to attend work or school remotely.
The architecture community stands ready to work with federal, state, and local policymakers to help our communities through this crisis and build facilities worthy of the future.
As Congress considers additional legislation to stimulate the economy, the AIA urges you to include significant investment in 21st century infrastructure and temporary relief measures for business owners. Both will provide necessary relief in the short term, reassure global markets, and help prepare the country for the challenges ahead.