ANDERSON – Noting that more than 10,000 students receive free and reduced lunches in Madison County, officials with the United Way of Madison County are urging federal lawmakers to reform the tax code.
Representatives from United Way traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to attend the national conference and to meet with members of the Indiana congressional delegation.
Nancy Vaughan, president of the local United Way chapter, and Kim Williams, vice president, met with staff members from the offices of U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, Sen. Dan Coats and Rep. Susan Brooks.
“The two areas of our main focus were on funding of early childhood education and tax reform,” Williams said.
Williams said Congress has increased the funding for early childhood education programs in the next budget, something that took place despite federal budget constraints.
“We had an informative and productive meeting with local representatives of the United Way and are so glad they were able to visit our office during their trip to Washington,” Alex Damron, press secretary for Brooks, said. “A number of important issues were discussed including early childhood education and the impact of tax laws on charitable organizations.”
The group also asked for an expansion of the charitable giving tax credit, the earned income tax credit and child tax credit.
Research by United Way of America shows the two tax credits lifted 9.4 million people out of poverty between 2009 and 2011.
“We discussed tax reform and making effective changes,” Williams said.
Vaughan said the local representatives received a good response from the congressional staff members who appreciated the United Way’s connections with other community organizations.
“They wanted to hear what is happening in the communities,” she said. “We had the sense that the staff members seemed to have a good understanding of the areas they represent.”
United Way of Indiana data shows that 16 percent of the population in Madison County was living at or below the federal poverty level and 56 percent of school children were receiving free or reduced priced lunches.