STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Postal Service seeks record price hikes to bolster falling revenues

The US Postal Service is asking for the biggest price jump on stamps in its history.Facing pressure f...

Posted: Oct 11, 2018 8:56 AM
Updated: Oct 11, 2018 8:56 AM

The US Postal Service is asking for the biggest price jump on stamps in its history.

Facing pressure from the Trump administration to address a revenue shortfall, the Postal Service on Wednesday proposed raising the price of 1-oz. letters from 50 cents to 55 cents, which would be a record nominal increase if approved. The price of each additional ounce would go down slightly.

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Consumer products

Freight transportation

Postal services

Price increases

Transportation and warehousing

Government organizations - US

US federal departments and agencies

US government independent agencies

US Postal Service

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Political Figures - US

US federal government

White House

The request was made by the USPS' board of governors, which has been operating on an emergency basis because of a lack of confirmed members. It will have to be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission.

"The Governors believe these new rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with needed revenue," the USPS said in a press release. "The Postal Service has some of the lowest letter mail postage rates in the industrialized world and also continues to offer a great value in shipping."

Rates for mailing services -- which includes catalogs and magazines as well as letters -- are pegged to consumer prices. Those have been rising faster this year, but still limited the price hike for that category to 2.5 percent.

Prices for packages, however, can float with market rates. The USPS wants to boost Priority Mail prices by an average of 5.9%. A small flat-rate box that costs $7.20 to ship, for example, would next year cost $7.90.

The steep price increases come at a time when the USPS' losses have been mounting, dragged down in part by a requirement that the quasi-public agency pre-fund the cost of retiree health benefits.

As letters and advertising mailers have been replaced by e-mail and online ads, the USPS has been making less and less money. Revenue from first class mail declined from $28.4 billion in fiscal year 2015 to $25.6 billion in 2017.

Package revenues fueled by the rise in e-commerce have been a bright spot, bringing in $19.5 billion in 2017, up from $15 billion in 2015. But it hasn't made much of a dent in the $58.7 billion net deficit that the Post Office has accumulated over the years.

The White House has proposed privatizing the Post Office, a plan that postal unions protested in nationwide demonstrations on Monday.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the terms of USPS' contract to deliver Amazon packages, the details of which are confidential. The Postal Service says it makes a profit through the arrangement.

"Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer?" Trump tweeted last December. "Should be charging MUCH MORE!"

In April, Trump ordered a review of the Postal Service's business model by a task force led by the Treasury Department. Postal Service spokesman Carl Walton says the review has been completed, but that the agency hasn't seen it yet.

"I think they're waiting until after the elections," Walton said. "We're waiting just like everybody else."

A second spokesman, Postal Service public relations manager Dave Partenheimer, later said that the agency does not have any timetable information about the report.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 171398

Reported Deaths: 2446
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34320566
Washington23060229
Marion19838299
Clackamas14975202
Lane11295144
Jackson9709126
Umatilla792683
Deschutes679372
Linn403962
Yamhill403974
Malheur342158
Polk336351
Klamath329257
Douglas300865
Josephine298162
Benton267318
Jefferson204832
Coos194731
Columbia150525
Union140423
Lincoln128220
Wasco126428
Hood River110729
Morrow107115
Clatsop8768
Crook84619
Baker81213
Curry5829
Tillamook5692
Lake4127
Grant3464
Harney3036
Wallowa1565
Sherman560
Gilliam551
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3706629

Reported Deaths: 60547
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122662723505
Riverside2968014504
San Bernardino2939254493
San Diego2737083623
Orange2684144849
Santa Clara1164362002
Kern1074341306
Sacramento1005871644
Fresno1002771633
Alameda848171447
Ventura80112990
San Joaquin711781334
Contra Costa66567777
Stanislaus600831020
Tulare49300824
Monterey43209348
San Mateo40920556
San Francisco35841506
Santa Barbara33736444
Solano31702238
Merced31105449
Sonoma29573311
Imperial27851717
Kings22723245
Placer21600281
San Luis Obispo20827256
Madera16174239
Santa Cruz15432203
Marin13815224
Yolo13510199
Shasta11570214
Butte11488193
El Dorado9662108
Napa961880
Sutter9245106
Yuba608343
San Benito594262
Lassen566624
Tehama539356
Nevada441875
Tuolumne405864
Mendocino397747
Amador360746
Humboldt356036
Lake338043
Glenn234925
Colusa218816
Calaveras204551
Siskiyou190920
Inyo141638
Mono12724
Del Norte12637
Plumas6886
Modoc4874
Mariposa4177
Trinity3985
Sierra1080
Alpine880
Unassigned500
Clear
° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: °
Brookings
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 57°
Partly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: °
Partly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: °
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 31°
Mostly sunny and warmer Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events