The U.S. Postal Service is requesting rate increases ranging from 2 cents for a first class stamp to as much as 8 percent for periodicals under a proposal submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Tuesday.
The Postal Service, facing a $7 billion deficit for its upcoming fiscal year, says the rate increases would raise $2.3 billion through the first nine months of 2011.
The PRC must approve the rate increases, and no increase would go into effect before January 2011.
The rate requests include raising the price of a first-class stamp from 44 cents to 46 cents, raising the price of a postcard from 28 cents to 30 cents and increasing postal rates periodicals by 8 percent. The rate increase requests did not include Express Mail or Priority Mail. The Postal Service says it will announce new pricing for those services in October.
"There is no one single solution to the dire financial situation that the Postal Service faces," Postmaster General John Potter said in a statement. "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."
The Postal Service's own Board of Governors in May approved a plan to eliminate most Saturday delivery, which would save it an estimated $3.1 billion. That move, and another to delay funding retiree health benefits payments both need Congressional approval. Hearings on the matter have been held in several cities across the country, with one last week in Buffalo City Hall.
The Postal Service has also already eliminated more than 40,000 jobs and is expected to close hundreds of post office locations across the country, including multiple locations in the Buffalo area.