From The NNA
As Congress continues to deliberate over new legislation to help the troubled U.S. Postal Service, national organizations representing users of the mail began to brace themselves for an anticipated September announcement about higher postage rates.
The USPS Board of Governors has scheduled a meeting for Sept. 5. Although no public announcements of its plans have yet been aired, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has declined to rule out the possibility of steeply higher rates. Meeting with mailers groups around Washington in August, he reportedly has said that the governors’ principal responsibility is to keep the lights on. A postage increase of some magnitude is expected to take effect in January. The governors September decision will determine how much it will be.
USPS expects to have fewer than five days of operating cash by the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. Even though its finances are gradually improving with the economy, the burden of a more than $5 billion annual payment to prefund employee health care—which Congress began to require in 2007 and which USPS has booked but not paid for the past three years—is weighing down its balance sheet.
The current law prohibits USPS from increasing postage rates above the annual average of the urban Consumer Price Index, which has fallen below a 2 percent monthly growth rate since January and was 1.7 percent in July. But the law also permits USPS to increase rates above the index under exigent circumstances if its regulator approves.