Military Commissaries Could Get More Expensive

MGN Online


Diapers, toothpaste, medicine - just some of the everyday items that could get more expensive for military service members and retirees.

Veteran Mike Plummer is not happy.

"But if you are relying on people to to volunteer, you have to incentivize them and once you incentivize them and bring them in, then you can't just turn it off all willy nilly and say, 'We changed our mind,'" he said.

Plummer is talking about Monday's budget proposal by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Part of that proposal includes cutting funds to military commissaries.

"Over three years we will reduce by $1 billion the annual direct subsidy provided to military commissaries, which now totals $1.4 billion," Hagel said.

Through commissaries, active military and veterans can save about 30 percent on many name brand items.

Plummer says a decrease in those savings can cost military families thousands of dollars.

"Part of our privileges with being in the military is being able to shop at the commissary and if you make it competitive to civilian prices then what's the incentive to go," said Staff Sergeant Jason Weber, an active duty soldier.

Right now Weber says his incentive is the price of meat.

Now he pays almost $2 less per pound for meat.

If those discounts are slashed Plummer says the effect will be widespread.

"Because it's impact on everybody, not just the soldiers but the soldiers families and retirees and reservists, National Guard, Coast Guard, Air Force, all of them are using commissaries," said Plummer.
Under the proposal, commissaries would still get free rent and wouldn't pay taxes.

Hagel says if the proposal is approved, commissaries would still be able to provide good deals to service members and retirees. 

Whether or not that's true remains to be seen.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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