Vast majority of mailers, by volume and revenue, come together to discourage misguided postal rate hike proposal
WASHINGTON, March 6, 2018 – The American Catalog Mailers Association has joined an unprecedented coalition of more than 50 leading associations, companies, nonprofits, magazines, newspapers and other stakeholders combined forces as the American Mail Alliance to advocate for promoting the long-term health and success of the U.S. Postal Service and the $1.4 trillion mailing industry. Above all else, the coalition’s primary goal is to oppose the radical postal rate increases proposed by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), and offer a commonsense approach to setting new postal rates.
The ACMA and the American Mail Alliance, which represents the vast majority of mailers, by volume and revenue, both filed comments with the PRC concerning the fate of a $1.4 trillion industry. The coalition has come together as the PRC takes the next step in its 10-year review of postage pricing. As part of that process, the PRC has proposed a dramatic increase in postage rates by as much as 40 percent over five years.
In a major filing of comments with the PRC, American Mail Alliance members argued that the PRC’s proposal will do lasting harm to the Postal Service and ultimately to the American people, and businesses small, medium and large, including virtually all who rely on catalogs in the mail. Such a dramatic increase in rates will put many mailers out of business.
“The PRC proposal will effectively reverse all the great gains catalogers and other mailers, as well as the USPS itself, have made since the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) went into effect 11 years ago,” said Hamilton Davison, President & Executive Director of the ACMA. “Instead of continuing to keep the Postal Service accountable in its costing and expense structure by way of consumer price index-capped price increases, this proposal opens the flood gates toward potential ruin for all involved as dramatic increases push mail out of the system and the high fixed costs of operating our national post must be borne by remaining mailers.”
The PRC is an independent agency with representatives from both political parties: Robert G. Taub (R), Tony Hammond (R), Mark Acton (R) and Nanci E. Langley (D).
“The PRC must focus its attention on demanding higher productivity levels and improved efficiency at USPS before imposing punitive rate hikes,” said Linda Thomas Brooks, President of the Association of Magazine Media. “Increasing rates will only serve to harm customers, businesses, and the USPS itself. The PRC proposal comes at a time when the Postal Service is fighting to retain business. Therefore, the USPS’s remaining customers should be encouraged to stay with USPS, not to be penalized with higher rates. The PRC has to concentrate on streamlining and modernizing the Postal Service. Throwing mountains of cash at the Postal Service’s problems and hoping that it works is not the solution.”
The PRC is tasked with balancing multiple criteria when establishing rates, but this proposal elevates one criterion – giving the Postal Service more revenue by raising rates – and ignores all other considerations. The American Mail Alliance submitted its joint comments on February 27; the ACMA submitted its own comments on March 1st. ACMA also submitted other joint comments here and here.
“We hope the Postal Regulatory Commission will reconsider its significant intervention via sharply increased rates and conclude it is ill advised in the face of widespread mailer opposition,” the ACMA’s Davison added. “The rate cap mechanism was a central feature in Congress’s 2006 reform of the Postal Service designed to promote efficiency while protecting mailers. Providing further authority to raise rates is not what is needed right now to promote a sustainable postal system.”