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Printing Industries Commends PRC's Rejection of Postal Rate Hikes

September 30, 2010
PITTSBURGH—Sept. 30, 2010—Printing Industries of America (PIA) today commended the decision of the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to reject the exigent postal rate increase requested by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) this past July. PIA member companies had actively sought to educate the PRC and Congress as to the disastrous impact an exigent rate hike could have on the mailing community as it struggles to regain its economic footing.

Michael Makin, President and CEO of Printing Industries of America, applauded the decision, stating that it was "right on the policy, right on the law, and, most importantly, right for business. Tens of thousands of jobs in the printing industry and throughout the mailing supply chain have been saved by this decision. As printers continue to struggle with economic and regulatory uncertainty, the PRC decision is one bright spot as the industry seeks growth opportunities in the mailing and fulfillment market."

The proposed rate hikes, which were to have taken effect next January, would have added $3 billion annually to the nation's postal bill even though the rate of inflation is close to zero. The PRC decision reaffirms that the Postal Service must limit rate increases to the rate of inflation, as the law requires.

"Printing Industries of America was a leading champion of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, the clear intent of which was to provide more affordability and predictability to printers, mailers and their customers," said Makin. "We applaud the PRC for recognizing Congressional intent and for not allowing a lowering of the bar on the definition of true exigent circumstances."

"Further, today's PRC decision should serve as notice for all who have a financial stake in the viability of the USPS to recognize the old way of doing business—raising prices on customers as a default means to address financial troubles—is over. Instead, we must consider this decision to be an impetus to address key pain points at the agency, including facilities, operations, and labor costs, to ensure that the USPS remains a competitive distribution channel for printed material."

Additionally, Printing Industries of America called on Congress to take a hard look at its mandated aggressive schedule of the USPS's prefunding of its retiree health benefits program, a considerable cost burden for the USPS. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill could vote to amend the prepayment structure as a means to provide a tool to USPS management in righting its operating costs.
 

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