46 cents to mail a letter; post office asking 2-cent rate increase to fight financial crisis
Buy those Forever stamps now. The cost of mailing a letter is going up again.
Fighting to survive a deepening financial crisis, the Postal Service said Tuesday it wants to increase the price of first-class stamps by 2 cents — to 46 cents — starting in January. Other postage costs would rise as well.
The agency’s persisting problem: ever-declining mail volume as people and businesses shift to the Internet and the declining economy reduces advertising mail.
“The Postal Service faces a serious risk of financial insolvency,” postal vice president Stephen M. Kearney said, an indication that without significant changes a time could come when the agency would be unable to pay its bills.
The post office lost $3.8 billion last year, despite cutting 40,000 full-time positions and making other reductions, and Kearney said it is facing a $7 billion loss for this year and the same for fiscal 2011, which begins in October. The rate increase would bring in $2.5 billion, meaning there still would be a large loss for next year.
The post office, though part of the government, does not receive a tax subsidy for its operations.
While the cost of a first-class stamp would go up, people who bought Forever stamps at the current 44 cents or at lower prices would still be able to use them without paying the difference.