If you have yet to come across this article, which appeared on September 6th in the Washington Post, New York Times, NY Daily News, and other major news outlets, it’s worth a read, but with a grain of salt. Before you click on it, in a nutshell the article says the “Postal Service is currently petitioning the agency that oversees it, the Postal Regulatory Commission, to grant the biggest change to its pricing system in a half century: the authority to lift a cap on postal rates. The commission’s decision is expected within weeks.”
Rest assured, the USPS has not filed for such an increase. The headline of the story, “Analysis: Postal woes demand jump in stamp price to 60 cents,” relates to the price increase needed to close the gap in postal finances in once fell swoop.” (You also can click here to read a clarifying statement the USPS just released this afternoon.)
The Accurate Part? If Postal Reform Fizzles
The piece was seeded by the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (C-21), and was also based on testimony delivered earlier this year by C-21’s director Art Sackler. Beyond the wrong information about an actual 20% rate hike filing, the story demonstrates how in the absence of a postal reform bill, which is looking more likely, the USPS would require a 17.6% postage increase to close the gap on its costs. What’s more, it needs to purchase new vehicles, which would round up its rate increase need to nearly 20%.
We encourage you to read the article. ACMA, C-21 (of which ACMA is an association member), and other mailer groups have been lobbying hard in Washington to get the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017, HR 756, passed out of the House. Unfortunately, the Postal Service remains in a mounting stack of issues Congress is trying to deal with and is not near the top of the heap.
What we do know right now is the Postal Service will have the authority to file for a CPI-capped rate increase within the next month or so, and that amount will fall much more closely in line with the relatively small increases in recent years. We’ll keep you posted on this situation as it develops.
President & Executive Director
American Catalog Mailers Association