Architects Ask Congress to Protect Small Business, Improve Buildings and More

Nearly 800 architects recently headed to Capitol Hill to ask legislators to pass tax reform that will enable small business to prosper rather than wind up paying higher taxes. The visits to Capitol Hill are part of the American Institute of Architects’ annual Grassroots Legislative Conference that took place last week.

The visits also coincide with the AIA joining a coalition of millions of small businesses in the call for comprehensive tax reform. The call comes in a letter sent to members of Congress and signed by the AIA expressing the coalition’s “strong opposition to tax reform that focuses on solely C Corporations while ignoring or paying scant attention to pass-through businesses and individual taxpayers.”

“Every day, nearly 70 million Americans go to work at a firm organized as something other than a C corporation,” the letter states. “These “flow-through” businesses, structured as S corporations, partnerships, LLCs, or sole proprietorships, represent 95 percent of all businesses and they contribute more to our national income and our job base than all the C corporations combined.”

Nearly 80 percent (eight in 10) of U.S. architecture firms file taxes as so-called “pass-through” small businesses.

Recent press reports have suggested that some policymakers support legislation that would reform the tax code for C corporations only. Indeed, the Senate could vote on a proposal to reduce the tax rate on C corporations. If that happens, the only way left to offset those lower rates would be to eliminate or reduce tax deductions and credits used by all businesses, including small businesses.

Among other AIA legislative priorities:

Repair and Strengthen Buildings: As millions of construction workers remain unemployed, buildings and vital infrastructure have crumbled, hurting our economy and endangering the public. But our nation’s infrastructure goes beyond roads and bridges: Millions of schools, hospitals and structures of every type are in desperate need of repair. Even the Capitol dome, a symbol of our democracy, needs repair. America needs sound policies that free up capital for private-sector building projects and new ways to invest in public sector buildings, providing jobs in the short term and a more competitive economy in the long run.

Build Sustainable, Resilient and Vibrant Communities: After years of economic turmoil and natural calamities, America’s communities must rebuild. Homeowners and businesses are demanding the next generation of buildings that save energy, revitalize traditional main streets and reflect the new ways that Americans live, work and play. As Superstorm Sandy showed, we need to do far more to protect our communities from disaster. And with buildings accounting for more than 70 percent of the nation’s electricity use, we can do so much more to make our homes, offices and schools use less energy.

Reform Government to Build Better with Less: Governments need to tighten their belts while providing essential services the public demands. That means doing more, and doing it better, with fewer resources. But too many laws and regulations block innovative solutions that maximize return on investment. When it comes to buildings, Congress can make sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely by reforming procurement rules so that architects can deliver projects that are safe, productive and sustainable.

Invest in the Next Generation of Design Leaders: Millions of young people aspire to help their communities build a better future, but a lack of opportunity and the crushing cost of education hold them back. As a result, the design and construction industry faces a severe shortage of talent, at exactly the moment we need to start rebuilding for the future. America can’t afford to lose a generation of talented design professionals, simply because they could not afford the cost of learning.

View AIA’s full legislative agenda.

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