Postal Reform In 2016: It Could Happen … No More Mail Delivery To Business Customer’s Doors?

For business mailers use to the snail’s pace of postal reform legislation, the very idea that the Congress would pass a Postal Reform 2016 bill in the lame-duck session seems absurd.

But it just may not be, this year.

Forces are at work, especially given the election of Donald Trump, that could result in a postal reform bill passing Congress and signed by President Obama.

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office scored the pending postal reform bill. It highlighted and evaluated the potential changes in the bill, including:

— Partially reinstate a postal rate increase (exigent) that expired in April 2016 (direct spending savings of $8.4 billion);

— Change the requirements for the security of parcels sent by air (direct spending costs of $3.2 billion);

— Authorize the Postal Service to phase out delivery of mail directly to business customers’ doors (direct spending savings of $2.0 billion);

— Establish a new health benefits program for Postal Service employees, annuitants, and their dependents (net direct spending costs of $4.7 billion and discretionary savings of $1.8 billion);

— Change the nature of the payments that the Postal Service is required to make related to retiree health benefits (no net effect on direct spending); and,

— Require the use of demographic data specific to Postal Service employees for the calculation of certain retirement benefits, (no net effect on direct spending, but discretionary costs totaling $5.9 billion).

Are businesses ready for the changes outlined in the new law? No, particularly if the exigent rate hikes were restored.

But another area of unpreparedness is business delivery of mail.

“USPS delivers mail to the doors of customers, to sidewalk and curbside receptacles, and to centralized mail receptacles that serve multiple addresses,” states the CBO. “H.R. 5714 would require the Postal Service to convert most business (but not residential) addresses with door delivery to sidewalk, curbside, or centralized delivery.”

“In 2015, the Postal Service provided door delivery to about 6 million business addresses,” the CBo reports. “H.R. 5714, the USPS expects that it would change the means of delivery for about 500,000 addresses in 2017 and an additional 1 million addresses annually over the 2018-2022 period. We anticipate that nearly all the conversions would be to centralized delivery for the affected businesses.”

(click to read CBO Report)