Today, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) initiated its long-awaited review of the postal rate system for regulating rates and classes of mail. This review was ordered by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, enacted in 2006, establishing the rate cap system we have experienced over the last ten years. Pursuant to that legislation, the PRC is required to review the current system to determine whether the current system is achieving the objectives established by Congress. If the PRC finds that the objectives, taking into account various factors, are not being met, it has the authority to either propose rules that modify the system or adopt an alternative system to achieve the objectives.
On Monday, SIIA joined with a broad coalition of postal customers
urging Congress to leave the postal rate-making process to Postal Regulatory
Commission (PRC). While digital content
is at the heart of most SIIA member company business models, many of our
members remain committed to the Postal Service and its long-term viability for
continued delivery of periodicals and first class mail to customers.
Today, the U.S. Postal Service announced via its Postal Explorer webpage that it will move forward the expected rollback of the 4.3% exigent rate increase for market dominant products. The revised prices reflecting those reduced rates are contained in their webpage. The exigent rate increase went into effect in January of 2014. Expiration of this temporary increase has been expected, as the cost recovery established by the Postal Regulatory Commission will be fulfilled around the end of March or first part of April.
As the USPS noted in their statement, Congressional or Court action is still possible which could extend or make the rate permanent, but absent such action, the Postal Service intends to provide formal notice to the PRC 45 days prior to the date it projects the exigent surcharge revenue target will be reached.
The Postal Service filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, this week, arguing that the Postal Regulatory Commission was wrong in its most recent ruling on the exigent rate increase. As expected, the Postal Service wants the case remanded to the Postal Regulatory Commission for further review so that it can renew its arguments for an extension of the 4.3% surcharge, which otherwise will come to an end sometime this spring—most likely in April.
David LeDuc, SIIA's senior director, public policy, puts together a quarterly government policy report that is available in SIPA's Member Resources. (Also there you'll find webinar and conference session archives, sample documents, the membership directory and much, much more.)