The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

January 24, 2014

USPS postage rate increase begins on Sunday

Staff Reports
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — The United States Postal Service's proposed price changes, including an increase in the price of a First-Class Mail single-piece letter from 46 cents to 49 cents, will go into effect on Sunday — expected to generate $2 billion in incremental annual revenue for the Postal Service.

Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing include:

• Letters (1 oz.) — 3-cent increase to 49 cents

• Letters additional ounces — 1-cent increase to 21 cents

• Letters to all international destinations (1 oz.) — $1.15

• Postcards — 1-cent increase to 34 cents

Pricing for Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services also will be adjusted.

Mail customers who purchase ‘Forever’ stamps before the date of increase will still be able to use them. These stamps will still be valid regardless of the purchase price.

In a letter sent out to customers in September, USPS Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnett described the “precarious financial condition” of the Postal Service and the “uncertain path toward enactment of postal reform legislation” as primary reasons for seeking price changes above the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

He also indicated that the price adjustment above the CPI increase was necessary in order to ensure that the Postal Service will be able to maintain and continue the development of postal services of the type and quality which America needs.

“Of the options currently available to the Postal Service to align costs and revenues, increasing postage prices is a last resort that reflects extreme financial challenges,” said Barnett in the letter. “However, if these financial challenges were alleviated by the timely enactment of laws that close a $20 billion budget gap, the Postal Service would reconsider its pricing strategy.

“We are encouraged by the recent introduction of comprehensive postal reform legislation in Congress, and despite an uncertain legislative process, we are hopeful that legislation can be enacted this year.”

Except in exceptional or extraordinary circumstances, postage price increases are capped at the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI.

The Postal Service filed for the price increase above CPI due to extraordinary and exceptional circumstances which have contributed to continued financial losses.

The Postal Service recorded a $15.9 billion net loss in the 2012 fiscal year and recorded a loss of roughly $6 billion in the 2013 fiscal year.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.