Ratepayers and commercial mail producers have long expressed concern over the negative effects of the aggressive price increases being pursued by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and his supporters on the Board of Governors.
If one recent development is any indication, these concerns may finally be motivating similar expressions of concern by legislators.
As reported September 9 by Keep Us Posted, the bipartisan pair of Reps. Gerry Connolly (VA 11th) and Jake LaTurner (KS 2nd) sent a letter to the USPS Board of Governors asking them to pause rampant postage rate increases – noting that the loss of mail volume is outpacing the projections of the Postmaster General’s 10-Year Plan, while the growth of parcel volume predicted by the Plan has yet to materialize.
The legislators noted that the Plan
“… assumes losses in mail volume of more than 40 percent over a 10-year period, but data presented in the hearing record suggests that recent volume loss trends are much greater than projected in the Plan. … These results suggest that the forecasting models on which the USPS relied do not account for large, successive increases at intervals greater than once per year. The twice-a-year increase schedule imposes additional compliance costs and instability in the market that may not be factored into USPS models … Most importantly, we urge the Board to consider whether a plan that intentionally sacrifices large amounts of mail volume and drives many customers out of the system for short-term revenue gain is in the best long-term interest of the system and consistent with the public service mission of the USPS.”
Connolly and LaTurner asked that the Board of Governors provide them, as members of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, with the following information:
- 1) Any variance from the Plan projections regarding the amount of mail volume the USPS will lose as a result of its current rate approach;
- 2) Any alternatives that would preserve mail volume; and
- 3) Whether the USPS will seek two additional rate increases in 2024.
The questions the legislators asked are neither new nor unimportant; the mailing industry has been asking for such information for years – without any response from the USPS – and the Postal Regulatory Commission is beginning to show interest in obtaining similar answers. Ever since The Plan was issued and questions began to arise, the Postal Service has obfuscated, protested, and deflected efforts to examine The Plan’s bases, projections, and resulting initiatives, framing it as simply a general outline. Nonetheless, as the agency has implemented elements of The Plan, it’s remained resistant to offering details or explanations. Whether the legislators’ inquiry will succeed in yielding greater transparency – and solid answers – remains to be seen.
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