Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Customers would foot bill for commissary budget cuts

Mar. 4, 2014 - 03:32PM   |  
  • Filed Under

As expected, commissary customers would foot the bill for operating the stores, according to details of the 2015 defense budget proposal released Tuesday.

The three-year plan to shrink the annual commissary budget from $1.4 billion to $400 million would raise prices to cover the costs of operating stores, expand the variety of products sold and reduce transportation costs.

Raising prices would require a change in law, as would expanding the product assortment. The exchange services have traditionally opposed expanding the variety of items sold in commissaries — such as beer and wine — because it would cut into their business.

Defense officials will not direct any commissary to close, according to the proposal. “In the end, patron usage of the commissaries will determine the savings and their competitive advantage,” the budget proposal states.

With the increase in prices, shoppers “should continue to enjoy significant savings on grocery purchases (about 10 percent or more) compared to high-priced grocery stores and modest savings over discount chains,” according to budget documents.

That would shift the Defense Commissary Agency’s operations to a model similar to the way exchanges operate. Exchanges mark up prices to pay for operations and capital improvements. They also contribute part of their profits to morale, welfare and recreation programs.

DeCA says customers save about 30 percent on the average compared to those at major retail and discount grocers in the private sector, which means the new proposal would wipe out about two-thirds of those average savings.

In the first year of the plan, DeCA would see about a $251 million decrease in the amount of taxpayer dollars in its budget.

By fiscal 2017, the Defense Commissary Agency would receive about $400 million in annual taxpayer dollars to continue funding shipments to overseas commissaries, and to subsidize about 25 commissaries in remote and isolated areas in the U.S, according to the budget documents.

The budget details released Tuesday made no mention of raising the 5 percent surcharge that all customers pay at the cash register. That surcharge provides funding to renovate existing commissaries and build new ones.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In Pay & Benefits

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

Best in the Corps
Super Squad competitions are sweeping through the fleet

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook