Two years ago, Gail Blachly was considering going back to work, but turned down a $13,000-a-year public-relations position because she couldn't afford it.

"I don't want to get behind professinally," says Blachly, who has a degree and experience in broadcast publicity and has been working part time from her Alexandria home while caring for her two children.

"My kids are 6 and 13 now, so I'm interested in getting back into the workforce. But when we sat down to figure the costs involved, we were astounded. My salary would kick us into a higher tax bracket, and with two full-time incomes we'd be paying something like $1,700 in 'marriage-tax.'

"Then there were costs for child care, transportation, clothing. We could have dealt with one or the other -- extra tax or extra costs from working. But not both. We figured if I took that job we'd only be something like $46 a month richer. So I decided to stay home."

Blachly plans to start her own business "primarily because of the tax benefits. It makes me very angry that taxes are structured in a way that discourages women like me from getting jobs. Yet in today's society it's hard to make it without two incomes, particularly if you want your kids to go to college."