Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Rep. Eric Cantor, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. John Boehner, President Barack Obama, Sen. Harry Reid, and Sen. Mitch McConnell participating in a budget meeting in July 2011.
Yesterday, the American Institute of Architects released a five-page report detailing the impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was the end result of the debt-ceiling standoff last summer, and its impact on the design and construction industry. That act, the byproduct of tense negotiations, stipulated $1.2 trillion in nearly across-the-board budget cuts, which would go into effect in lieu of a compromise bill tasked to a bipartisan “supercommittee.” (That committee adjourned a few days before Thanksgiving of last year with no plan, and so the cuts detailed in the Budget Control Act are scheduled to go forward on Jan. 2, 2013.)
According to its press release, the AIA looked at an Office of Management and Budget report and identified 48 accounts that currently fund federal construction, and from there analyzed the effects of the scheduled cuts to those budgets. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, and cited by the AIA in its report, federal agencies accounted for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of construction totaling $25.2 billion as of August. (And this is down from $31.8 billion from a year before.) The AIA extrapolated that the scheduled cuts would cost 66,500 full-time architecture and engineering jobs.
Furthermore, the AIA’s report only covers the effects of cuts to direct spending on building design and construction, not those that also allocate building-related funds, such as energy efficiency. “If these other accounts were included,” the report’s authors write, “the impact on the build [sic] environment would likely be significantly higher.” In addition, there are a host of tax credits for Congress to take up before the end of the year that have either expired already, such as the research and experimentation tax credit, or are scheduled to be concurrent with the sequestration going into effect.
Follow this link to read the full report, with accompanying charts detailing the amount of money currently allocated to the 48 budget lines and how much will be cut through sequestration.