USPS postpones price increase decision
By Erik Wasson - 09/05/13 04:47 PM ET
The troubled U.S. Postal Service on Thursday postponed a decision on whether to seek price increases.
The service is widely expected to ask the Postal Regulatory Commission this fall to allow it to raise stamp prices to deal with its massive financial problems.
"The Postal Service Governors met today at a regularly scheduled Board meeting. As part of the agenda, the Governors considered pricing issues, including the possibility of filing for price adjustments," the USPS said in a statement. "The Governors continue to listen to stakeholders and have postponed final pricing decisions until the next scheduled Board of Governors meeting, Sept. 24 – 25, 2013."
Lobbyists opposed to the increase had expected the Postal Service to seek as much as a 3 cent increase in the price of the 46 cent first-class stamp and a double digit increase in the average 27 cent cost of mailing magazines. The price increases would take place in January, if approved.
The head of MPA, the Association of Magazine Media said she was encouraged by the delay.
"This action affords us additional time to work with them and detail the devastating impact a rate increase would have on the mailing industry and the 8.4 million jobs that depend on it. It also 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," MPA President Mary Berner said.
The USPS lost a record $15.9 billion in fiscal 2012, mostly due to required prepayments for future retirees’ healthcare. The agency’s losses have declined, to $3.9 billion, in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, including the pre-payments.
Congress has competing House and Senate bills to reform the Postal Service, but may be unable to reconcile them amid other fiscal fights this fall.