Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Postal Service today proposed a postal rate increase for first-class mail to 49 cents, up from the current 46 cents. Price hikes for advertising mail, periodicals and package services are expected to be announced Thursday. The 6.5% price hike for first-class mail is higher than allowed by current law, which ties rate increases in most postal categories to the Consumer Price Index. The USPS made its request to exceed that rate, currently at 1.5%, because of its “precarious financial condition” and the uncertainty of postal reform legislation, USPS Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnett said in a statement. In its most recent financial report, the USPS lost $3.9 billion for the nine months ended June 30. The proposed changes, which would go into effect in January if approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, are expected to generate $2 billion in annual revenue, the USPS said.