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Postal Reform Under Review

February 2003
WASHINGTON, DC—The Bush administration has created a nine person, presidential postal commission to consider reforms in the nation's postal system.

The announcement of the commission's formation brought nods of approval by both the members of the Mailing Industry CEO Council and the Printing Industries of America (PIA), as well as others in the printing and publishing world.

"The health of the U.S. printing industry is tied directly to the health of a nationwide mail delivery system. We look forward to providing whatever assistance we can to the commission," notes Ben Cooper, PIA's executive vice president for public policy.

The broad issue of postal reform was ranked by the PIA as a top priority for the 108th session of Congress. Historically, printers have been involved in postal issues primarily as a support to their customers; however, in recent years, it has become clear that while many customers have advertising and communications alternatives, printers are more directly tied to the postal service itself.

The demand for a presidential commission has been gaining momentum since the summer of 2002, when postal reform legislation died in the House Government Reform Committee.

The White House can create and appoint a presidential commission without a vote from Congress, but any recommendations generated by the commission must be submitted to Congress for authorization.

"The president has created a first-class commission and has asked for expedited delivery of its results by next July," notes Pitney Bowes Chairman and CEO Michael J. Critelli, president of the Mailing Industry CEO Council.

"This could turn out to be the most important step taken to reform the postal system in the last 30 years. There is much that can be done to enhance the mailing channel and fulfill its potential in the changing business environment, and this is an excellent beginning," Critelli adds.

The Postal Service faces a likely deficit of nearly $1 billion for fiscal year 2002, following a $1.7 billion shortfall in fiscal year 2001. It routinely borrows funds from the U.S. Treasury and now owes the treasury more than $11 billion.
 

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