Rate hike delayed

In a victory for mailers, the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors (BOG) on June 30 said it would not implement new postal rates until Jan. 10, 1999. Rates will then go up 2.9% on average. Standard A catalog rates will increase an average of 4.5%, while base rates for parcel post will jump 12.3%, and Priority Mail rates will rise 6.7%.

Although the USPS originally had hoped to implement the new rates on July 1, 1998, Congress and mailers pressured the BOG to delay implementation or even throw out the rate case altogether, citing the agency’s three consecutive years of profits.

The increase, according to BOG chairman Sam Winters, “is the right amount at the right time-the smallest in postal history.” The last increase, which averaged 14.3% for catalogers, occurred in January 1995.

How long will these postal rates last? Postmaster General William Henderson told the Board of Governors that the USPS’s goal is “to avoid the predicted rate increase in 2000 and stretch that to 2001.”