Postal Service proposes 49 cent stamp

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WASHINGTON — It soon could cost 49 cents to mail a letter.

The financially struggling Postal Service is seeking a 3-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter, bringing the price of a first-class stamp to 49 cents.  ASSOCIATED PRESS
The financially struggling Postal Service is seeking a 3-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter, bringing the price of a first-class stamp to 49 cents.

The postal Board of Governors said Wednesday it wants to raise the price of a first-class stamp by 3 cents, citing the agency’s “precarious financial condition” and the uncertain prospects for postal overhaul legislation in Congress.

“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,” board chairman Mickey Barnett wrote customers.

The rate proposal must be approved by the independent Postal Regulatory Commission. If the commission accepts it, the increase would become effective Jan. 26.

Under federal law the post office cannot raise its prices more than the rate of inflation unless it gets approval from the commission. In seeking the increase, Barnett cited “extraordinary and exceptional circumstances which have contributed to continued financial losses” by the agency.

As part of the rate increase request, the cost for each additional ounce of first-class mail would increase a penny to 21 cents while the price of mailing a postcard would rise by a cent, to 34 cents. The cost to mail a letter to an international destination would jump 5 cents to $1.15.

Many consumers won’t feel the increase immediately. Forever stamps bought before an increase still would cover first-class postage. The price of new forever stamps would be at the higher rate, if approved.

The Postal Service also said it would ask for adjustment to bulk mail and package rates in a filing with the commission Thursday. No details were immediately provided.

Media and marketing businesses say a big increase in rates could hurt them and lower postal volume and revenues.

The post office expects to lose $6 billion this year and is seeking help from Congress to fix its finances.

Barnett said the increase, if approved, would generate $2 billion annually in revenue for his agency.

The agency last raised postage rates on Jan. 27, including a penny increase in the cost of first-class mail to 46 cents.

Congress is considering cost-cutting moves that include ending Saturday mail delivery and most door-to-door delivery. The agency says ending Saturday mail delivery would save $2 billion each year. But many lawmakers, along with postal worker unions, have resisted such changes, saying they would inconvenience customers.

The Postal Service supports the proposed delivery changes. It also is seeking to reduce its $5.6 billion annual payment for future retiree health benefits. It missed two of those $5.6 billion payments last year, one deferred from the previous year, and is expected to miss another at the end of this month when its fiscal year ends.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe was to appear before a Senate panel on Thursday to press lawmakers for swift action on legislation to fix his agency’s finances.

Donahue has said that without help from Congress, the agency expects its multibillion-dollar annual losses to worsen. He has warned that the agency’s cash liquidity remains dangerously low.

The Postal Service is an independent agency that receives no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.

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my.voice 09/25/13 - 02:43 pm
....citing the agency’s

....citing the agency’s “precarious financial condition”

And I would cite a precarious waste of money. If they cannot manage what they have, dont just give them more. They will eat what you feed them.

triscuit 09/25/13 - 03:50 pm
Here we go again...keep

Here we go again...keep giving WORSE service and get an increase. Oh wait, sounds a bit like our garbage service. Of course people use email more now and most junk mail unfortunately comes with spam email. But the people that work those counters at the post offices...all have the WORST attitudes. Not all, but the majority of them act like you are an annoyance to them.

TrulyWorried 09/25/13 - 04:16 pm
Postal Service

Why advertise on TV if the budget is so tight.
And some of the increases were not even announced. Found out that a long envelope (like #9) for overseas costs $1.10 - but a 'square' one - I guess mostly greeting cards, cost $1.30 for one ounce, over that limit it almost doubles.
I try to order my stamps via the Internet and so far I have been lucky, no grumpy employee showed up on my monitor!! I sure don't like all these increases, but who does??

nocnoc 09/25/13 - 04:55 pm
Want a working successful USPS

Get Congress out of the way.

If it ain't profitable drop it, cut Saturday or 1 mid week delivery day.
let them set a rate they can live with for 5 to 10 years. Something with profit in it. Forbid anything more than basic COLA's based on WSJ numbers at all position levels.

also for crying out loud its a government job, it should NOT be Unionized.

At last count Over 98% of all USPS mail deliveries is Business orientated.

The handwriting has been on the wall since the 1980's when Personal mail started to wane with the invention of the BBS and a Modems. When the PUBLIC Internet came into maturity in the 1993-94 the USPS had lost over 3/4 of it personal mail deliveries. Now we have instant texting via Cell Phones.

So If Business is the main USPS Business, let them run it like a Business, and tell congress to mind its own Business.

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