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PMG Wants Exigent Rates Restored

U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan told business mailers at a recent gathering that the USPS wants the 4.3 % exigent postage price hikes restored by Congress. Those price hikes expired in April and were rolled back.

She spoke at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Lehigh Valley Postal Facility in Bethlehem, PA where she once worked as a plant manager. The event was organized by the Lehigh Valley Postal Customer Council.

The PMG laid out key goals of current postal legislation negotiations on Capitol Hill, including reinstating the exigent price increases. Other goals include medicare integration for postal employee health benefits, expand product offerings, and use postal-specific economic assumptions to calculate liabilities.

“The challenge for us is to keep this bill moving,” PMG Brennan said. “It is an uphill battle.”

She told business mailers the USPS needs pricing flexibility and increasing revenues, noting total liabilities including retirement obligations exceed assets by $101 billion as of September 30, 2015.

Legislative reform is one part of her plan. Other parts include improving operational efficiency, growth, and achieving a favorable outcome from the PRC’s review of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which establishes rate-setting procedures.
The PMG said the current price-cap for its market-dominate products is “unsuited.”

“We need pricing flexibility,” she said.

Economic and social changes are driving changes at the Postal Service, she said, and the USPS is working to adapt. For instance, autonomous vehicles are being examined for postal applications.

The PMG said consumers want on-demand, convenient, and connected services. The Post is responding by offering enhanced product tracking and visibility, new self-serve kiosks, improved communications with business mailers, and offering Informed Delivery to make mail part of the consumer’s daily digital routine.

“We want to marry print and pixel,” she told the audience, noting that direct mail is the best medium for reaching and targeting people. “We are trying to leverage these technologies.”

One success she pointed to was the growth of political mail, which has generated half a billion dollars in new revenue.

PMG Brennan is the 74th Postmaster General in a line that begins with Benjamin Franklin. She began working for the Postal Service as a letter carrier in Lancaster, PA (the same place that the first female Postmaster was named, in 1809).

(Photo Credit: Glenn Fawcett)