San Francisco--John E. "Jack" Potter, the United States Postal Service's postmaster general, told attendees of the Direct Marketing Association's 85th annual conference that the next postal hike will not occur until "well into 2004." Potter spoke at the general session Tuesday. He said he expects the USPS to record a net income in 2003, thanks to cost reductions this year and a rate increase that took effect in late June. He added that the Postal Service will meet with industry stakeholders in the next few weeks to discuss its "phased rates" proposal. The proposal is a key component of the Postal Service's Transformation Plan, which is a long-term initiative to make the agency more efficient. Phased rates would enable direct marketers to plan in advance for expected rate increases that would occur in smaller increments, spaced out over a longer period of time. "My goal is to enable you to accurately plan [your budgets]," Potter said.