Exigent Rate Increase is Discussed By Postal Governors

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Mailers: Recession has nothing to do with rate hike.
Mailers: Recession has nothing to do with rate hike.

The Postal Board of Governors yesterday discussed the possibility of filing for price adjustments, raising the prospect of an exigent postal rate increase and inciting business mailers to cry more loudly for reform.

“[The Board has] been watching Congress do nothing for the past four years and they think they've got to do something to keep things running. Absent any legislative reform, their only recourse is to go with exigency,” said Hamilton Davison, president and executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association.

Davison and other representatives of volume mailers held a conference with the Board before its meeting, during which they laid out the damaging effects an exigent increase would have on their businesses, as well as the United States Postal Service (USPS). “The idea is so repugnant that the industry has to stop and focus on nothing but knocking exigency back,” Davison declared.

The governors issued a statement following yesterday's meeting saying that have postponed final decisions on pricing until their next scheduled meeting on September 24 to 25. In the interim, they said they would continue to listen to the input of stakeholders in the mailing industry.

“This gives us, the Postal Service, and the entire mailing industry additional time to continue working in concert to convince Congress that the solution to the Postal Service's problems lies not in rate increases, but in meaningful postal reform legislation,” said Mary Berner, president and CEO of the Association of Magazine Media.

What's troubling to mailers, however, is that the mere consideration of an exigent increase may be enough to take Congress's eye off the postal reform ball. “It allows Congress to say, ‘Oh, they'll have the money. We don't have to do anything,'” noted Davison.

Should the governors seek an exigent increase, a final decision could be six months away. The Board promised industry players it would give 45 days' notice before it filed a petition with the Postal Regulatory Commission, which has 90 days to issue a decision.

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