The Case of the Missing Money

Bruce is a retired member of our nation’s armed forces (Navy, in particular). He informed me of a recent struggle he’s been having trying to get a straight answer from our nation’s leaders (surprise, surprise).

The following is reposted with his permission:

“David,

Here are the questions I posed to Senator Kohl, Senator Feingold, and Congressman Ryan. Kohl replied that the questions had been forwarded to the Department of the Navy — I’ve heard nothing from them. Ryan send a standard PR type response from the Navy Exchange that answered NONE of the questions. Feingold has never even given me the courtesy of a reply (too busy with trial balloons?). The questions follow:

1. ‘Are gasoline purchases at military exchanges exempted from state taxes?

2. If they are not, should they not be exempted?

3. If they are, why are these savings not passed on to the service member/retiree?

4. Where, overall, are the significant savings armed services members/retirees should expect (at gas stations and exchange stores)?

5. Are the extremely modest savings we currently receive worth the investment in land, labor and capital required by an exchange system within the continental U.S.?

6. Would it not be more economical to adjust pay/retirement rates upward and eliminate the ongoing expense of having exchanges in areas where the is ample access to civilian shopping? If possible, encourage states to exempt purchases by authorized personnel and their dependents from state sales taxes.’

Bruce”

The key issue that started Bruce’s inquiries stems from a discrepency in gas prices paid by both active and retired members of the service and the prices civilians pay. If said gas is exempt from state taxes, prices should be cheaper than they currently are for members of the military. If purchases are not exempt, why are they currently cheaper for service members than for civilians? Where is the missing money going?

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