NPR : News

Postal Service Seeks 5 Cent Hike For First-Class Stamps

In a letter, the postmaster general told Congress, yesterday, that in order to mitigate losses the United States Postal Service needed to raise the price of stamps by as much as 5 cents.

That means stamps could cost 50 cents.

The New York Times reports that Patrick Donahoe also said that if it didn't raise postage prices and slow first-class mail by one day, the service could lose up to $18.2 billion a year by 2015.

The Times adds:

The Postal Service has already asked Congress for permission to make service cuts and reduce annual payments of about $5.5 billion in funding retiree health benefits. But in recent weeks, the Senate and House have stalled as lawmakers differ widely on costs, the level of financial oversight and the prospect of widespread postal closures.

On Thursday, Mr. Donahoe said the mail agency's proposals would enable it to save $20 billion a year by 2015, repay its $12.9 billion debt to the Treasury and return to profitability. The plan, for instance, notes that if the post office could raise stamp prices from 45 cents to 50 cents, either in a single year or over a multiyear period, it could bring in new revenue of about $1 billion.

Almost all of these proposals are not new. The Postal Service has mentioned them before, says CNN, except the 5 cent increase in stamp prices.

As Renee Montagne said on Morning Edition today, "it may be time to stock up on more of those 'forever' stamps."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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