Stamp prices decreasing April 10

Published 3:20 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2016

For the first time since 1919, the price for first-class stamps will drop.

The official price for first-class stamps will fall two cents on April 10 from 49 cents to 47 cents.

The United States Postal Service announced that beginning April 10, they will be required to reduce certain prices, including the Forever stamp.

This mandatory action will worsen the Postal Service’s financial condition by reducing revenue and increasing its net losses by approximately $2 billion per year, according to a release from the

“The exigent surcharge granted to the Postal Service last year only partially alleviated our extreme multi-year revenue declines resulting from the great recession, which exceed $7 billion in 2009 alone,” Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan said in a release. “Removing the surcharge and reducing our prices is an irrational outcome considering the Postal Service’s precarious financial condition.”

An order from the Postal Regulatory Commission requires the 4.3-percent exigent surcharge to be reversed after the Postal Service has collected surcharges totaling $4.6 billion.

As outlined in a notice filed with the PRC, that amount is expected to be reached by April 10.

Postal Service prices for mailing services are capped by law at the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers.

However, the law does allow for exigent pricing due to the extraordinary or exceptional circumstances.

That was the case when the Postal Service sought and ultimately received approval for the current exigent pricing, citing the severe effects of the great recession on Postal Service mail volume.

However, the PRC did not accept the views of the Postal Service concerning the extent of the harm resulting from the great recession, and the PRC strictly limited the period of time that the Postal Service could continue to collect the exigent surcharge.

While the Postal Service has experienced rapid growth in package volume over the past few years, it is not nearly enough to offset the decline in revenues from market-dominant products, especially First-Class Mail.

Brennan added that the Postal Service’s current pricing system, where products that generate roughly 76 percent of its revenues fall under the statutory price cap, is fundamentally unsuited to the Postal Service’s current business environment in which First-Class Mail volume continues to decline and the network costs required to provide universal service continue to rise.

“Our current pricing regime is unworkable and should be replaced with a system that provides greater pricing flexibility and better reflects the economic challenges facing the postal service,” Brennan said in a release.

The cost for each additional ounce of a letter will fall from 22 to 21 cents. International letters will fall from $1.20 to $1.15, and postcards will fall from 35 to 34 cents.

Local post office employees were unable to comment on the price change.

In July 1919, stamp prices fell from 3 cents to 2 cents, the only other time stamp prices have fallen.