The recent postage increase was a TAX! The postage rate hike was not because of rising cost by the post office but because congress decided it needed to raise $3.1 BILLION in revenue.
I saw this at the post office on Southern and College in Tempe.
RATE INCREASE INFO
This rate increase --- the first since 2002 --- is needed to fulfill the requirement of a federal law passed in 2003. That law requires the Postal Service to establish a $3.1 billion escrow account, with the use of the funds to be determined by Congress at a later date. Without this federal mandate, it would not have been necessary to raise rates in 2006.
It wasnt driven by operating costs or revenue shortfalls --- but by Congressional legislation.
Here are some stories about it I got off the web.
Associated Press Post Office Management Opposes Reform Bill By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID , 01.25.2006, 12:50 PM
After more than a year of seeking legislation to update how the post office is run, postal management said Wednesday both the House and Senate bills should be scrapped and the whole process started over.
Failure to win approval of provisions opposed by the Bush administration could lead to as mush as a 20 percent increase in postage rates, postal officials said.
"We believe there are critical elements missing from this bill, as well as numerous burdensome provisions that would make it extremely difficult for the Postal Service to function in a modern, competitive environment," the governing board of the Postal Service said in a letter to Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, who chairs the committee on government affairs.
The House reform bill approved last year contains similar provisions.
"We've worked long and hard with House and Senate staff ... to try to get corrections to the legislation and we just have literally reached the end of that rope," postal senior vice president Tom Day said in a telephone interview.
The problem centers on provisions for an escrow account and retirement benefits.
Legislation in 2003 required the post office to assume responsibility for retirement benefits earned by its employees during military service before going to work for the post office. That shifted an eventual responsibility of some $27 billion from the Treasury to the post office, and is not required of other government agencies.
Another past measure requires the post office to place $3.1 billion this year in an escrow account. That requirement was the only reason for the 2-cent increase in postage that took place earlier this month, agency officials said, and the escrow requirement increases in coming years.
While bills to modernize the postal operations would have eliminated those requirements, that would have made the federal deficit appear larger, drawing the veto threat from the administration.
Facing such a threat, Day said that postal management is concerned that the provisions would simply be dropped during House-Senate conference negotiations, and there is nothing else in the bills that would help the agency cut costs.
Other problems cited by postal officials in the bills are:
_ A requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund retiree health benefits over the next 40 years. This would require an 8.9 percent postal rate increase in addition to any increase needed to meet operational costs.
_ Granting the Postal Regulatory Commission new authority to hear complaints about every facet of Postal Service operations and order the Postal Service to take corrective action.
by PH3 Jeff Blakley The Waterline
The longer lines many have experienced at post offices around the country normally point to one thing. It's time to stock up on one cent stamps.
The fees for using the United States Postal Service (USPS) have increased across the board. Shortly after the new year began, most postal fees and rates increased by 5.4 percent. The change came when the USPS voted to accept an increase to help meet the requirements of a 2003 federal law requiring the postal service to build a $3.1 billion escrow account. These changes affect personal mailers, as well as government mail including the DoD and Navy official mailing system
Blame Congress, not workers, for increase in postal rates
January 26, 2006
As a clerk for the U.S. Postal Service, I am disappointed in the postal rate increase, too. However, the Statesman Journal and the general public are unaware of 2005 postal reform passed by Congress mandating the Postal Service to put $3.1 billion in escrow -- not million, billion.
Why? Good question. One word: Deficit. USPS is debt-free. Congress is making the Postal Service take care of the military retirement deficit. The American Postal Workers' Union fought against this legislation.
Yet again, Congress has not fixed anything. They love using Band-Aids. People need to direct their complaints (e-mails, letters, faxes) to their U.S. senator -- not postal workers.
So, go ahead and buy a $5 coffee drink, pay for your $100 jeans, fill up your gas-guzzling SUV on high-price gas and complain about two cents.
-- Sophea Uk, Salem
Postal rate increase met with favor
By Jennifer Reeger TRIBUNE-REVIEW Saturday, January 7, 2006
An extra 2 cents to mail a first-class letter doesn't bother Jack Greiner at all -- even though he can remember a time when stamps cost 3 cents. "Of course, ice cream cones only cost 5 cents back then, too," Greiner, 72, of Unity Township, said Friday after doing business at the post office in Greensburg.
Beginning Sunday, the U.S. Postal Service will raise most of its rates and fees by about 5.4 percent, the first such increase since 2002.
First-class stamp prices are going up 2 cents -- to 39 cents. In addition, priority mail rates for a 1-pound package are going up to $4.05 from $3.85. And rates for a half-pound express mail package will increase to $14.40 from $13.65. Fees for services such as certified mail, delivery confirmation and money orders also will increase.
Diana Svoboda, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service's Pittsburgh district, said the rate increase was necessary because of a 2003 federal mandate that the postal service set aside $3.1 billion in an escrow account this year.
"This was mandated by Congress," she said. "This was not a postal decision."
Svoboda said the increase would not have been necessary without the congressional mandate. The escrow account will be used at the discretion of Congress, Svoboda said, adding that the postal service still considers its rates "a bargain."
"If you think about it, 39 cents to go anywhere in the country -- 144 million homes and businesses every day, door-to-door," she said.
"Two cents is not bad," Greiner said. "All the other businesses have to increase their prices to keep things going, so it doesn't bother me."
But Michaelene Uhall, of Greensburg, said she's thinking of using the Internet more because of the rate increase.
"I'll try not to send out as much mail, get on the Internet and do bill pay," Uhall said.
Svoboda said despite the fact people can pay bills online, mail volume -- including first class -- increased last year. She said overall mail volume increased by 5.6 billion pieces to 212 billion items last year. First-class mail volume increased for the first time in about 2 1/2 years, Svoboda added.
"That tells me that people have faith in the postal service," she said.
She said the increases show that the ability to pay bills online has not hampered mail volume.
"There are so many fears with the computer, I think a lot of people are coming back to using the mail," Svoboda said.
Christy Bell, 33, of Hempfield Township, said she does pay a lot of bills online.
"I like the post office, but if I can save 39 cents, I will," Bell said.
Still, she doesn't think the increase is dramatic.
"I think the post office is an amazing system," she said. "They do a really good job. I've never mailed something that's never gotten there."
Jennifer Reeger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (724) 836-6155.