The Postal Rate Commission recommended the overall rate hike proposed by the U.S. Postal Service last year be cut by a third to $1.6 billion per year. The independent commission recommended approval of the postal service's request for a 1-cent boost in first-class mail rates to 33 cents. It also recommended an overall 4.6% boost in periodical rates paid by newspaper and magazine publishers, slightly more than that recommended by postal service management last year but well below the 6% to 10% boost some publishers had feared. Not-for-profit publications got a bigger 8% hike. Some small local newspapers that were slated to get postal rate cuts under the postal service management plan will see bigger rate cuts under the commission proposal. Larger newspapers that had opposed the postal service's plan to cut rates by 5% to 18% for saturation occupant mailings saw the rate commission instead choose to give a much smaller break to those mailers. The commission recommended overall bulk mail advertising rates go up 1.2% instead of the 1.8% recommended by the postal service. In recommending the new rates to the postal service's Board of Governors, the commission said none of the rates should start before next year.
Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.