Citing a need to promote "tax fairness for families," two Republican legislators have stepped up their efforts to increase the personal income-tax exemption.
At a news conference last week, Senator Dan Coats of Indiana noted that over the past 60 years, the personal exemption's relative value has dropped to only 20 percent of its original worth.
The current value of the exemption, he argued, is "far too low to help much with today's costs of raising a child."
Senator Coats has introduced a measure that would raise the exemption from its current level of $2,050 to $4,000.
The new level, he said, would allow an Evansville, Ind., family of four that has an annual income of $20,000 and that currently pays $1,774 in federal income taxes to pay less than $600.
Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia has introduced a similar measure in the House that would raise the personal exemption to $3,500 and would apply only to dependent children under age 18.
"There is overwhelming agreement on all sides of the political spectrum that it is time to reinvest in the family," said Mr. Wolf, who maintained there is strong bipartisan support for making the tax code more "family friendly."
"This is the most cost-effective social program we can advocate," he added.
The National Commission on Migrant Education has contracted with another federal agency to recommend ways to lift bureaucratic roadblocks that impede services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers nationwide.
The Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent agency that was created in 1964 to examine regulatory and benefit programs and to suggest ways to improve them, will conduct the $50,000 study and report its findel10lings and recommendations to the commission by next January.
The study was prompted by complaints raised at recent commission hearings held around the country about a lack of interagency coordination, said Lisa Carlos, a policy analyst at the commission.
One of the biggest barriers to obtaining services stems from conflicts between migrant-education programs, which serve migrants for up to five years but not seasonal farm workers, and migrant health programs, which serve both types of workers but only for two years, Ms. Carlos said.
Six different federal agencies, including the Education Department, run about a dozen programs for migrant or seasonal farm workers and their families, she said.