The Baker campaign and an online source that seems affiliated with his campaign (Mr. Baker personally ‘likes’ it on Facebook) have made claims that Smith cut services in this past year’s budget. Specifically, in a Cherokee Phoenix column (scroll down to page 6), Baker claims that Smith proposed a “41 percent cut in tribal funding or Clinical Support Services and a 25 percent cut to the Cherokee Kids Program.”
So is it true?
As typical, the answer is yes and no.
First, on health care, the operative words here are ‘tribal funding.” According to the Cherokee Phoenix (same link scroll down to page 10), tribal funding for the program was cut, but it was replaced with federal funding, so the actual money for services did not decrease.
This is an example where the truth matters. The words at face value are true. However, the impression they leave is that Smith cut health care funding when he didn’t. According to the Cherokee Phoenix, the overall health care budget actually went UP by 17% last year.
I don’t know how things work at your house, but if we buy our licorice with a roll of nickels or with a credit card, the guy selling them doesn’t care as long as the money is good. We think the Cherokee people probably feel the same way about health care: if they are getting treatment, they probably don’t care if it’s federal or tribal money paying for it, as long as that nasty rash goes away.
Make sure you stop by tomorrow as we'll talk more about the second half of the above claim, that Chief Smith proposed a 25 percent cut to the Cherokee Kids Program. In the meantime, you can look at the entire budget totals for the current year if you want to. Click here and then scroll down and click on the hotlink LA-29-10 next to Attachments.