USPS proposes to increase stamp prices in 2024

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The U.S. Postal Service proposed a nearly 8% increase in stamp prices on Tuesday — the latest in a three-year string of postal price hikes for the financially struggling federal agency.

The price changes are scheduled to take effect on July 14 if approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent body that oversees the Postal Service. Among the proposed changes are a nickel increase for first-class forever stamps from 68 cents to 73 cents, a 3-cent increase for domestic postcards from 53 cents to 56 cents and a 10-cent increase for international postcards from $1.55 to $1.65.

If approved, the proposed postage rate increases would mark the sixth round of rate increases by the Postal Service since 2021. The last round of increases came in January when the cost of first-class stamps rose 2 cents from 66 cents to 68 cents. .

The temporary rate increases were part of the 10-year Serving America plan, which aims to transform the agency from “an organization in financial and operational crisis to a self-sustaining, high-performing organization,” according to the Postal. Services website.

“These rate adjustments are necessary to achieve the financial stability” required in the plan “as changes in the mail and shipping market continue,” the Postal Service said in a news release Tuesday.

The Postal Service has faced financial challenges primarily due to a years-long mandate requiring upfront funding for employee retiree health benefits, resulting in significant financial losses. In addition, fewer people are sending first-class mail due to the rise of online communications, with the number of individual letters sent annually declining by approximately 50% over the past decade.

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This year, the Postal Service expects to lose $6.3 billion after losing $6.5 billion last year. In general, its operations are not funded using tax revenues.

Although prices have risen over the years, first-class stamps in the United States still cost less than they do in many other developed countries, according to the U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General. Of the 30 countries the bureau surveyed, only four countries' stamps were cheaper than those of America.

“USPS prices remain among the most affordable in the world,” the Postal Service stated.

While it is rare for the Postal Regulatory Commission to reject Postal Service proposals, it has happened before. In 2010, the commission rejected a rate increase because the Postal Service “failed to quantify the impact of the recession on its finances and demonstrate how its rate request relates to the resulting loss in mail volume,” according to a statement.

Madeleine Nguyen is a breaking news reporter for The Republic. Accessed at [email protected] Or 480-619-0285. Follow her on X @madelineynguyen.

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