ALBANY, N.Y. March 10, 2011 - New York State United Teachers today unveiled Round 2 in its television ad campaign to reverse $1.5 billion in proposed education cuts, using students' voices to detail how deep cuts to programs and teacher layoffs are hurting their education while wealthy New Yorkers are set to receive tax breaks they neither need nor deserve.
The new $1.4 million advertising buy - which follows NYSUT's similarly sized, two-week campaign pushing continuation of the income tax surcharge on the most affluent New Yorkers - again urges Albany not to sacrifice students' futures for tax breaks for millionaires. It comes a day after news that, if New York's "millionaire's tax" expires as planned, New Jersey's budget would receive a $350 million windfall.
In the new 30-second television ad - titled "I Believed" - students respectfully but earnestly tell Albany's leaders, "I listened when grown-ups said education is the most important thing … how I'd never go anywhere without a good one. I believed that. Believed I could do anything." The students go on to explain how proposed cuts are hurting their education, and conclude: "I need you to support what really matters. My education!" The ad is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2FB5Htan1s .
"New Yorkers are making their voices heard: They strongly oppose education cuts because they know how much damage cuts are doing to our students' futures," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "And, they equally believe that the notion of 'shared sacrifice' should include everyone, even the most privileged and wealthy."
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said the ads continue to pound away at the absurdity of destroying educational opportunities for students and laying off thousands of teachers so wealthy New Yorkers can enjoy big tax breaks. "As local school districts are crafting their budgets, the picture comes into clearer focus: The best way preserve educational quality is to ensure that 'shared sacrifice' includes asking wealthy New Yorkers to pay their fair share, so all students can receive a quality education," Pallotta said.
The new television ads will air for about two weeks in the Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Hudson Valley and Watertown markets, as well in Long Island and New York City and its suburbs. The commercial will also appear in movie theaters throughout the state for the remainder of the month.
The ads debut one day after the Albany Times Union reported that the expiration of the income tax surcharge in New York would mean a $350 million windfall for New Jersey - new revenue, ironically, the Garden State could use to fund its schools. The windfall comes because New Jersey residents get an in-state credit for the taxes they pay in New York. As the New York tax burden decreases, the importance of that credit would shrink as well, providing more revenue for Jersey's coffers.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.