The rate hikes will take effect Aug. 29. The cost of mailing a First Class letter will go to 58 cents, from the current 55 cents. "For community newspapers using Periodicals mail to reach readers, the average rate increase will be nearly 9%," the National Newspaper Association said in a news release. "The rate increase is part of a new USPS business plan that also includes a weakening of service standards for mail that is moving across the country."
The rates must clear the Postal Regulatory Commission, but it has already granted the Postal Service the authority to eliminate an inflation-based limit on rates, NNA notes: "It gave USPS a new set of parameters that allows it to charge more for mail that remains in the postal system while digital technology provides new competition for delivery of messages and advertising."
NNA said the announcement was "grim news for community newspapers that have been fielding months of complaints that subscribers are not receiving their copies on time."
Chair Brett Wesner said, “Nothing about this scenario is good. These increases will require many newspapers to increase subscription prices to cover this new cost, and readers will think we have lost our minds to charge more when USPS cannot get the paper to so many on time.”
Wesner added, “The increase in the stamp cost will be felt most in a rural economy. People in small towns across America send checks through the mail to pay their bills. The stamp goes up and delivery goes down. I fear that just as economic hopes have started to rise for people returning to work, faith in the Postal Service’s ability to serve the nation will put a damper on commercial activity for many of us.”