"A balanced approach to the state budget"

The Massachusetts Teachers Association and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East began airing a radio ad May 11 calling for the state to raise revenues to avert further drastic cuts to vital public services, including education and health care.

The ad, which will air regularly for more than a week on radio stations in Greater Boston, notes that the impact of the national recession on Massachusetts has been severe and that the state now faces a budget deficit of at least $3.5 billion.

"State leaders face hard choices," the radio spot states. "They've already made deep spending cuts, tapped the rainy day fund, and used federal stimulus money. But it's not enough. Even deeper cuts are looming for local aid and essential public services.

"But we can't cut everything. Even in this recession, we still need to educate our kids, provide health care, protect our homes, and make sure our roads and bridges are safe," the ad continues. "To do that, we need a balanced approach to the state budget -- one that includes new revenues to help preserve vital services and protect our economic future."

MTA President Anne Wass said it is crucial for legislators to recognize the need to take action right away.

"We need to continue to invest in public education and other services for our communities so that as the economy improves, the Commonwealth has a skilled work force to attract new companies and new investments," Wass said. "It is simply no longer possible for the state to fund a responsible budget without new revenues."

"Massachusetts children and families are already facing reduced access to preventive and emergency health care due to drastic health service reductions and the economy," said Mike Fadel, executive vice president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. "Such reductions are unsustainable and will only cost taxpayers and the state more in the long run if new revenues are not used to stabilize health care access and affordability in our state."

The ad was produced by Will Robinson of The New Media Firm.