DMA asks USPS to extend rate relief for flats

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The Direct Marketing Association is calling on the U.S. Postal Service's Governors to quickly implement the rate reductions recommended by the Postal Regulatory Commission for Standard Mail flats. The DMA is also asking that the temporary rate relief be extended beyond the Sept. 29 deadline recommended by the PRC.

The PRC's Second Opinion and Recommended Decision on Reconsideration, which was issued May 25, establishes a transitional temporary rate reduction of 3 cents for all Standard Mail Regular flats and 2 cents for Standard Regular nonprofit flats.

In a letter to the Governors submitted June 4, the DMA asked the them to approve the rate reduction without the deadline, leaving it in effect until the next postal rate change, likely in mid-2008, under the new procedures established by the postal reform law, which was signed by President Bush on December 20.

In the letter, the DMA noted that the PRC "responded positively to the Governors' and the mailers' concerns regarding the excessive increases initially recommended for Standard Regular flats. Now it is the Governors' responsibility to implement the revised rates, and the DMA urges the Governors to approve the commission's recommendation and provide mailers just as soon as possible with the rate relief recommended by the commission."

However, the DMA also cautioned that the temporary discounts offered to flat mailers would only postpone substantial cuts in mailing volumes and a further decrease in revenues for the USPS.

"While even temporary relief from the rates initially recommended by the PRC would be appreciated, the proposed Sept. 29 sunset of the reduced rates would result in a substantial rate increase at a particularly inopportune time of the year," DMA wrote. "Inasmuch as the reductions recently recommended by the commission would result in rates still well in excess of those originally sought by the Postal Service in its May 2006 rate case filing, to provide this modicum of relief for only several months would seem to belie the Governors' previously stated concerns."

The full text of DMA's June 4 letter to the postal Governors is available online at www.the-dma.org/postal.

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