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ASLA Issues Statement on Sequestration

ASLA has let its disappointment be known concerning the federal government’s failure to avert the sequestration.

In a released statement, the Society noted that while few deny that the federal deficit and accumulated debt are real problems, the scale and timing of these cuts will significantly affect 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. 

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ASLA’s fourth-quarter 2012 Business Quarterly survey results had indicated a steadier future hiring picture going into the first quarter of 2013. Ninety-eight percent of landscape architecture firms are small businesses, and about 24 percent 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, says, “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.”

For more information on ASLA’s economic recovery priorities, visit

Comments March 5, 2013 7:00 PM
The statement issued by ASLA regarding sequestration does not represent my views on this subject. The fact that I advocate progressive views on the environment and urban planning does not mean that I must also advocate irresponsible economic policies. A government that borrows nearly 1 of every 2 dollars it spends cannot last much longer. I am not so worried about the salaries of landscape architects employed by the government as I am about the tax increase that I and others employed by small businesses, with whom you claim to sympathize, must now bear. How much do those federal LAs make anyway? I am also concerned about my children. How free can they ever be when their taxes must pay the interest on the rapidly spreading malignant federal debt. Even the most wasteful and indefensible spending in the federal budget has its advocates, all of whom are whining right now like the ASLA. The truth is, across-the-board cuts are probably the most fair approach to dealing with out-of-control government spending, given that our "leaders" make no effort at value judgments regarding spending priorities (and probably shouldn't be trusted to do so). Infrastructure? What is that? Billion dollar highway interchanges, multi-billion dollar interstates that rip through our cities, farms and open landscapes. I am not for that. "Prolonged uncertainty in the federal budget process" is not the problem. Nor are taxes too low. The problem is uncontrolled, reckless and wasteful government spending promoted by lobbyists and special interest groups such as ASLA. March 5, 2013 7:14 PM
I think the American people and in particular landscape architects and related fields should be encouraging congress and the president to not cut, and even increase federal aid/grants and stimulus for infrastructure and building projects, education funding, and neighborhood and park renovations, etc. March 6, 2013 5:42 PM
The Federal Budget is out of control. To suggest we support not taking action to benefit some in the profession is irresponsible when the future of our country and heirs is so much more at stake, It is time that ASLA stop the trip on the progressive railroad and think outside the Beltway for a change. Of course we are a special interest organization, but that also means we should take special interest in doing the right thing every now and then.Let's not let our ASLA acquire the reputation for being an idealistic group of self interest whinners any longer, and set a standard for fair and reasonable thought.It would do more than any other action to begin the process of repairing the reputation we now have.
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