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    image via flickr user 401(k) 2012

As much as possible, we approach legislators in collaboration with contractors and engineers‚ identifying that community-at-large as the “Design/Construction Industry.”  Let me emphasize, “as much as possible,” because we sometimes take different positions on issues (i.e., last session’s SB 1215, the “Implied Contractor Liability” bill). 

During the April 4 TAC trustee meeting, James Perry posed the question, “How do we stack up against other members of the ‘Design-Construction Industry?’”  He answered himself immediately after. Below are the aggregate 2017 PAC numbers that Perry shared at that meeting. The first number is the amount raised by the PACs, the second is how much each group contributed to candidates.

Architects— $120,855  /  $25,500; 

Contractors— $400,189 ($276,762-AGC; $123,427-ABC)  /  $174,318  (If you include other AGC PACs or businesses with “construction” in their name —i.e., road builders—legislators might credit “contractors” with another $276,401, for a total of $676,590);

Contractors (Subs/Specialty) – $143,725  /  (unavailable); and, 

Engineers— $274,316  /  $350,250  (The total of candidate contributions is ‘engineering PACs only;’ it does not include what individual engineers gave personally to candidates, a significant amount since the model used by ACEC-Texas anticipates far more in such individual contributions rather than centralized PAC activity.)

We need to do more and better fundraising, especially if/when comparing ourselves with traditional allies…because if/when it ever becomes “us vs them” among industry BFFs, we don’t look as healthy as we should when standing all by ourselves. 

A quick analysis of other built environment PACs reveals some other aggregate numbers of interest/impact:

Apartment Associations —  $931,569  /  $512,122

Builders—  $492,189  /  $177,617

Manufactured Housing —  $79,077  /  $12,250

Realtors—  $6,422,568 (Austin area only was $193,754)  /  $4,559,478 (Austin only $85,125)

We must be prepared to stand out better in an increasingly crowded field.  Dollars alone aren’t the sole measure of one’s support; but the more we can do for those who like and appreciate us during a time of need—ours or theirs—the better off we will be!

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