Postal Service Proposes 3-Cent Increase in First-Class Stamp

Postal rate increase stamps postage
David Goldman/AP
By ANDREW MIGA

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

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 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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95 Comments

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r3375j

Sounds about right. Just about everything will increase by that percentage due to this Health care act.

September 29 2013 at 3:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
betty_brock

Please increase the rates on junk mail.

September 26 2013 at 9:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
djchavez421@aol.

i FEEL THAT THE U S POSTAL SERVICE HAS AND IS IN A LOT OF INANCIAL TROUBLE DUE TO THE FACT IT IS A GOVERNMENT RUN ENTITY, TO MUCH WASTE, TIME OFF, EXCELLANT BENEFITS, PAY ETC.. NOW EMPLOYEES ARE ALWAYS ON THEIR CELL PHONES PARKED ON THE STREET, THEY HAVE LESS THAN HALF OF THE MAIL FROM FIVE YEARS AGO, BUT IT STILL TAKES THEM ALL DAY, ADDING TO MANY HOURS PLUS OVER TIME :?:?... AND SATURDAY\'S MAIL SHOULD BE STOP, IT WOULD SAVE THEM MILLIONS. AND AS USUAL VERY POORLY MANAGED, GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES FOR THE MOST PART CAN NOT BE FIRED THE UNION MAKE SURE OF THAT, EVEN IF YOU DON\'T DELIVERYN THE MAIL ON A TIMELY BASIS PLUS GOVERNEMNT EMPLOYEES DON\'T TAKE PRIDE. IT IS JUST A JOB...

September 26 2013 at 4:26 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to djchavez421@aol.'s comment
tjdnorco

It is not a government entitly. It is a private company performing a public service with oversite from congress. the reason it is losing so much money is in 2006 congress passed a ruling mandating the USPS fund 75 years of retirement in only 10 years. It costs the USPS 5billion a year to do that.They cannot use it to pay current retrirees. No other government or private firm does this.

September 26 2013 at 11:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
skelly0000

Double the cost of junk mail !!

September 26 2013 at 4:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
BULLMAN

The problem is not 3c raise. Its the PS. It needs privatized.

September 26 2013 at 1:54 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Stephen

When does this stop? Maybe it's time for a leadership change at the USPS.

September 26 2013 at 1:31 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
JARED

Heres a better idea, stop gouging the customer and start serving the customer people go to other services like UPS and fed ex beause we have to wait in 45 minite lines just to mail a package. They keep rising the stamp its BS. Im going to start paying for everything on line-sc897 the postal service and there 3 cents

September 26 2013 at 1:23 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
mbestfrnd

The people who determine the rates for the USPS have to be the stupidist people around. Why not just raise the first ounce to 50 cents and do away with the need for all those pennies? Dumb, dumb, dumb!

September 25 2013 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
spokajo

Why not make it an even 50 cents and go from there?

September 25 2013 at 10:11 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
ralpmg

no tax money goes to the post office but if your talking about the phone company I am sick of them taking our tax money to do what the post office doesn't get a dime for. For the last 20 years your tax money has been going to the phone company. Why cant this private company be like the post office and not take any tax money . So you want your mail service to be like the phone company and take our tax money . I am sorry since the post office doesn't take any of our tax money I would rather keep it and dismantle the phone companies for taking out tax money . Which do you like better . A company getting no tax money or a company taking your our tax money to do what the post office does for free . If you choose no tax money then you choose the post office

September 25 2013 at 9:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply