PICKENS COUNTY — For the first time in nearly 100 years, stamp prices have dropped thanks to a mandate issued by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent federal agency with oversight over the postal service.
Beginning April 10, letters one ounce or less dropped from 49 to 47 cents to mail with additional ounces dropping from 22 to 21 cents. International letters dropped a nickel to $1.15 and postcards are being reduced by a penny — from 35 cents to 34.
It is a move that has the United States Post Office crying foul.
“Given our precarious financial condition and ongoing business needs, the price reduction required by the PRC exacerbates our losses,” said Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General and CEO. “To properly compete for customers and continue to meet America’s evolving mailing and shipping needs, the Postal Service needs the financial capability to invest in the future … We continue to seek legislative reforms to put the Postal Service back on a sustainable financial path, and pricing is an important component.”
The PRC defended the price reduction by stating that the three cent postal increase in 2014 was in response to the nation’s recession and the hike was never intended to be permanent.
It is estimated the USPS will lose around $2 billion dollars due to the drop — bad news for the agency (which is not funded by tax dollars) that has already reported a $5 billion net loss for the 2015 fiscal year.
“To offset long-term declines in the use of First Class Mail in particular, the Postal Service continues to aggressively improve efficiency and has reduced our annual cost base by $15 billion since 2008,” reads a statement issued by the postal agency. “Nevertheless, and despite strong multi-year growth in package deliveries, the Postal Service continues to record unsustainable financial losses due to changing market conditions and legislative and regulatory mandates which prevent the Postal Service from fully adjusting to the new market realities.”
Postage rates have climbed steadily throughout the years but have only dropped three times in recorded USPS history, the last time being 1919.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.