By Michael Baadke
In a notice filed Oct. 10 with the Postal Regulatory Commission, the United States Postal Service has proposed a 5¢ increase in the price of a forever stamp for first-class domestic letter-rate mail, changing it from 50¢ to 55¢. If approved by the commission, the federal agency that oversees the USPS, the proposed rate changes would take effect Jan. 27, 2019.
Along with that 10-percent increase in letter mail prices, the Postal Service is asking for a 3¢ increase in metered letters (from 47¢ to 50¢) and a 6¢ decrease in the additional-ounce rate for letters weighing more than 1 ounce (from 21¢ to 15¢).
That decrease would see prices for a 2-ounce letter drop 1¢, from 71¢ to 70¢.
“The proposed prices, approved by the Governors of the Postal Service, would raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 2.5 percent,” the Postal Service said in its Oct. 10 announcement.
“Shipping Services price increases vary by product. For example, Priority Mail Express will increase 3.9 percent and Priority Mail will increase 5.9 percent. Although Mailing Services price increases are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Shipping Services prices are primarily adjusted according to market conditions. The Governors believe these new rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with needed revenue.”
The rate change planned for the Priority Mail regular flat-rate envelope would increase it from $6.70 to $7.35, while the Priority Mail Express regular flat-rate envelope would increase from $24.70 to $25.50. In recent years, the Postal Service has issued stamps to fulfill the postage rate for each of the two regular flat-rate envelopes.
The rates for domestic postcards and outbound international 1-ounce letters would not change, remaining at 35¢ and $1.15, respectively.
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Additional rate changes, all increases, are proposed for the most commonly used Priority Mail retail flat-rate boxes and larger envelopes.
The proposals also call for zone-based pricing for first-class package service, and dimensional weighting for all zones for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express parcels over 1 cubic foot with a DIM divisor of 166.
According to the Postal Service, “DIM weight is determined by multiplying a package’s length, width, and height and applying a volumetric divisor.”
Bill McAllister reported in the Dec. 25, 2017, issue of Linn’s Stamp News that the Postal Regulatory Commission proposed changes to the way stamp prices are set, so that rate increases could exceed the rate of inflation by 2 percent a year for five years, with “an additional 1 percent increase if the Postal Service can meet some of its own standards for better mail service.”
The proposal for higher rate increases met with strong protests from some prominent U.S. mailing associations.
The governors’ decision will be sent for publication in the Federal Register.
The commission's review and approval of the proposed prices is required before the scheduled Jan. 27, 2019, implementation date