‘Snail mail’ to cost more next year
Information courtesy of the United States Postal Service news department
The cost to mail a standard First-Class letter is expected to increase in 2011, according to the United States Postal Service. The USPS is also introducing another option for the Forever Stamp.
The U.S. Postal Service Governors recommended increasing the price of a First-Class stamp 2 cents (from 44 cents to 46 cents) and authorized the production of a pane of four evergreen tree branches as the newest image for Forever Stamps. The price of a postcard would also increase by 2 cents to 30 cents.
The Postal Regulatory Commission must approve the recommended price changes. The increases would not go into effect until Jan. 2, 2011. It would be the first stamp price increase in almost two years, according to the USPS. The proposed price changes, if approved, will raise about $2.3 billion for the first nine months of 2011.
Postal service patrons will have access to the new Holiday Evergreen Forever Stamps starting this October. They will be sold for the current price of 44 cents each. Once purchased, the stamps are valid literally forever – despite any future price changes.
The proposed cost increase is being attributed to several financial issues being faced at the Postal Service, which is projecting a nearly $7 billion deficit for the next fiscal year. The related issues include plummeting mail volume traced to the recession, and increased use of the Internet.
The Postal Service started major cost-reducing measures as far back as 2001, including eliminating millions of work hours and reducing expenses by more than $1 billion every year, according to the USPS.
Postmaster General John E. Potter announced in March of this year that pricing would be one in a series of solutions the Postal Service is pursuing to become financially sound.
“There is no one single solution to the dire financial situation that the Postal Service faces,” Potter said. “These proposed rate adjustments are moderate and part of a fair and balanced approach to insuring mail service for all Americans well into the future.”
Other actions outlined in March included:
- changes to delivery frequency;
- restructuring prepayments of retiree health benefits;
- creating a more flexible workforce; and
- expanding access to products and services to places more convenient to customers.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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