Postage stamp prices ... dropping?!

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The price of a first class stamp is going down, but the United States Postal Service says the markdown will only make its dire financial situation worse.

In 2014, Congress allowed the U.S. Postal Service to apply a 4.3 percent surcharge to stamp prices until it collected an extra $4.6 billion. The agency is slated to reach that amount by April 10. That means the cost of mailing a one ounce letter will drop from 49 to 47 cents, and commercial prices will also decrease.

USPS says reversing the subcharge will increase its already-losing margins by an extra $2 billion each year.

"The exigent surcharge granted to the Postal Service last year only partially alleviated our extreme multi-year revenue declines resulting from the Great Recession, which exceeded $7 billion in 2009 alone," Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General and CEO, said in a prepared statement. "Removing the surcharge and reducing our prices is an irrational outcome considering the Postal Service's precarious financial condition."

The postal service says existing laws cap its ability to raise prices beyond the rate of inflation. Its only hope is for Congress to act.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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