USPS Lowers Year-End Income to $600 Million

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The U.S. Postal Service estimated its year-end net income figure to be $600 million, instead of the estimated $800 million reported earlier this month by Richard Porras, USPS' chief financial officer. The fiscal year ended Sept. 11.


Meanwhile, postal insiders say Congress is within a day or two of passing the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill. As of press time yesterday, the bill still was being discussed in conference between the House and Senate.


Although the lowered income numbers were indicated by controller John Ward at a recent Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting in Washington, a USPS spokesman said the figures aren't final and audited financial results will be released in December.


"The figures reflect a postponement of a rate increase, which originally was projected to go in place in June of this year," the spokesman said. The new estimate also is a reflection of the investments and expenses the USPS is incurring through the capital investments it made in FY98 and will carry into 1999.


Grady Foster, a manager in the USPS' budget and financial analysis department, said the change in estimation is relatively insignificant since "we have been saying $600 to $800 million since the beginning -- and $200 million is merely a drop in the bucket when you look at our $60 billion revenue."


On Capitol Hill, the passed version of the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill probably will include several amendments that will affect the USPS, including the International Postal Services Act, which requires the Postal Rate Commission to submit to Congress a comprehensive report on the costs, revenue and volumes that the postal service accrues in connection with international mail. It also requires that the PRC provide cost, revenue and volume data for each international mail product or service so the PRC can analyze it in a fashion similar to the way it analyzes rates for domestic mail.


The bill is expected to include an updated Northup amendment, which originally would have given the State Department authority to represent the United States at the Universal Postal Union instead of the USPS. The amendment was instituted as a statement into the House bill, but it wasn't attached to the Senate version.


Reportedly, the new version, which has been approved by all parties involved -- including the private couriers, the postal service and the State Department -- allows the State Department to represent the USPS at the Universal Postal Union but gives USPS some authority as long as it follows the guidelines set by the State Department. In addition, the bill says the State Department can't grant any undue or unreasonable preference to the postal service or any other entity.
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