Mailers Ask PRC to Ax Postal Rate HikeJuly 30, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC—The Affordable Mail Alliance (AMA) has implored the Postal Regulatory Commission to dismiss the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) rate hike proposal filed on July 6, arguing that the rate hike violates the cost controls Congress put into law to protect consumers, and that the USPS needs to cut costs and modernize rather than raise rates an average of 10 times the rate of inflation.
"Allowing the Postal Service to raise prices above the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in this case would nullify the single most important safeguard for mailers and the public in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA),” AMA argues in its motion. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), an author of the 2006 law, has already said the proposed increases do not qualify for an exception under the standards established by Congress.
The AMA is a coalition of more than 700 large and small businesses, nonprofit organizations and associations of mailers that together account for a majority of the mail sent in the United States. Its members employ more than 7.5 million workers and contribute nearly one trillion dollars to the economy each year.
The PAEA limits the average postal rate hike to inflation as measured by the CPI. There is an exception to the CPI cap only for "exigent circumstances" when the Postal Service could not continue operating without overall price increases above the CPI. But this exception is intended only for "extraordinary or exceptional circumstances" that would leave the USPS short of funds to provide necessary services despite "the best practices of honest, efficient and economical management." The AMA argues that the Postal Service has not met that test.
The AMA has significant backing from hundreds of printers, newspapers, associations and suppliers, including RR Donnelley, Quad/Graphics, Trend Offset Printing, IWCO Direct, Sappi, NewPage and Printing Industries of America (PIA).