The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is disappointed in the federal government’s failure to avert the sequestration that will start to take effect today. They have issued the following statement:
While few deny that the federal deficit and accumulated debt are real problems, the scale and timing of these cuts will significantly impact our fragile economy and could disproportionately impact small businesses, including small landscape architecture firms. ASLA is also very concerned that these cuts will result in the furloughing of thousands of federal employees, including federal landscape architects.
ASLA’s fourth-quarter 2012 Business Quarterly survey results had indicated a steadier future hiring picture going into the first quarter of 2013. (Roughly) 98% of landscape architecture firms are small businesses, and about 24% of landscape architects are self-employed. Federal budget cuts could force these firms to change their spending and hiring plans as well as reduce their ability to meet their customers’ demand.
These across-the-board spending cuts also mean fewer resources for much-needed infrastructure projects. Landscape architecture firms partner with federal, state and local governments to plan and design community infrastructure projects to manage stormwater and design public spaces and transportation corridors. These projects save taxpayer money and provide community benefits including water and energy efficiencies.
Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA, stated, “The message is simple: Prolonged uncertainty in the federal budget process will continue to adversely impact landscape architecture firms and the economy as a whole.”
We realize that policymakers have difficult fiscal decisions to make. We urge President Obama and Congress to continue to focus on more targeted cutbacks, rather than across-the-board reductions. Their agenda must include working together to reinvest in U.S. infrastructure.
For more information on ASLA’s economic recovery priorities: www.asla.org/advocacy.