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Postal rate hike request rejected by regulatory board

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Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Postal Service’s request for a 5.6% average postal rate increase for next year, citing dire financial pressures and the possibility of insolvency, has been rejected by the independent agency charged with approving postal rates.

The Postal Regulatory Commission denied the Postal Service’s request, saying it failed to justify any rate increase in excess of the rate of inflation. Current law mandates that the Postal Service raise postal rates only so far as it matches the Consumer Price Index, which currently is close to zero.

The PRC found that the Postal Service’s financial woes were not due to the recessionary economy, nor was it “necessary to maintain and continue the development of postal services of the kind and quality adapted to the needs of the United States.”

The Postal Service’s request, made in July, would have raised first-class postal rates from 44 cents to 46 cents. However, standard- mail parcel rates, used to send small-size merchandise and product samples of one pound or less, would have risen 23.3%.

Publishers would have seen the periodical mailing rate rise by 8%, and standard-mail letter and flat postage rates, used most often for commercial direct mail campaigns, would have risen 5% and 5.1%, respectively, if the PRC had approved the Postal Service’s request.

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