November 5, 2014

2014 Elections and What Our Government Can Do To Support Architects

Washington, D.C. – November 5, 2014
AIA President Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA:
 “Voters in yesterday’s mid-term election sent a clear message to Washington. They are fed up with dysfunction and want Congress and the White House to work together to get things done. 

“When Congress returns in coming weeks, it should pass legislation streamlining government procurement rules for the design/construction industry. That legislation, already contained in the Defense Authorization Bill, will expand the pool of architectural talent from which the government can choose to get better value in federal design/construction contracts for the American taxpayer. 

“The White House and Congress should also work to reinstate already expired tax incentives, including the Section 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction - a provision that already enjoys bipartisan support and that creates jobs, strengthens energy independence, encourages innovation and reduces the burden on taxpayers. 

“Congress and the White House have plenty of opportunities to get back in the good graces of American voters. It just needs to act.”

To follow the thoughts of Helene, I'd also like to see a renewed effort to pas the National Design Service Act (NDSA). Student debt is one of the most critical issues facing the next generation of design professionals. The average architecture student graduates with approximately $40,000 in student loan debt, ranking architecture as one of the disciplines with the highest loan balances in the country. That is why the AIA and the AIAS have developed legislation that eases the burden by providing loan assistance to architecture students and recent graduates who contribute their design services to underserved areas.

Let's all hope that our government can get back to work and actually be productive for the good of our country and economy.

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