Breaking News: Governors Vote to Raise Rates Again in July

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The U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors announced today that postal rates will go up July 1 across the board by an average of 1.6 percent. The new rates are expected to generate more than $900 million in additional revenue.

Rates for regular Standard mailers will increase 1.4 percent; enhanced carrier route Standard Mail, 1.3 percent; regular nonprofit rates, 2.5 percent; and nonprofit ECR, 2 percent.

Flat mailers, or catalog mailers, also will see increases. The rate for basic presorted flats will increase less than 1 percent, while basic automated flats will increase 1 percent. The per-piece mailing cost for automated 3/5 flats will rise 1.2 percent, and the basic enhanced carrier route rate for flats is increasing 1.1 percent. Regular periodical rates will increase 2.6 percent; in-county periodical rates will increase 1.6 percent; and nonprofit periodicals will increase 2.4 percent.

Though rates for a 1-ounce First-Class letter will remain the same, 34 cents, an additional ounce will increase from 21 cents to 23 cents. Postcards will increase a penny, to 21 cents, the first increase in the postcard rate since 1995. Priority Mail rates did not change, but Express Mail rates did: 1/2 pound rate will go up 2.5 percent; up to 2 pounds, 1.6 percent; and Flat Rate Envelope, 1.6 percent.

The board voted in closed session yesterday to modify the April 10 decision of the Postal Rate Commission. By law, it can overturn the PRC if the vote is unanimous, and has done so only once before: in 1980, according to USPS spokesman Greg Frey.

"We take this action mindful of our statutory obligation to assure the financial integrity of the nation's universal postal system," board chairman Robert F. Rider said in a statement. "As the officials responsible for matching revenue with costs, we found that additional revenue is essential and is adequately supported in the record compiled before the commission."

The PRC's original decision was allowed under protest Jan. 7, pending further review. In December, the board sent the recommended rates back to the PRC, saying that the PRC had exceeded its authority when it lowered the amount of new revenue designated for the USPS' contingency fund from $1.7 billion to $1 billion. The PRC reiterated its decision in February, but the board sent the decision back to the PRC again in March.

The USPS is projecting a loss of more than $2 billion this fiscal year.


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