Postal Service Proposes Rate Changes for 2011

WASHINGTON, DC—July 6, 2010—The U.S. Postal Service Governors recommended increasing the price of a First-Class stamp 2 cents to 46 cents and authorized the production of a pane of four evergreen tree branches as the newest image for Forever Stamps. The price of a postcard would increase 2 cents to 30 cents.

The Postal Regulatory Commission must approve the recommended price changes. The increases would not go into effect until January 2, 2011. It would be the first stamp price increase in almost two years.

Holiday Evergreen Forever Stamps will be available to the public in October at the current rate of 44 cents. Once purchased, the stamps are valid literally forever – despite any future price changes. No additional postage will ever be needed.

Faced with plummeting mail volume traced to the recession and increased use of the Internet, the Postal Service is projecting a deficit of nearly $7 billion for the next fiscal year. Despite eliminating 1 million work hours and reducing expenses by more than $1 billion every year since 2001, a budget gap remains.

The proposed price changes, if approved, will raise about $2.3 billion for the first nine months of 2011. Postmaster General John E. Potter said he does not want customers to bear the burden of dramatic price increases. Instead, Potter announced in March that pricing would be one in a series of solutions the Postal Service is pursuing to become financially sound.

“There is no one single solution to the dire financial situation that the Postal Service faces,” Potter said. “These proposed rate adjustments are moderate and part of a fair and balanced approach to ensuring mail service for all Americans well into the future.”

Other actions outlined in March included changes to delivery frequency, restructuring prepayments of retiree health benefits, creating a more flexible workforce and expanding access to products and services to places more convenient to customers.