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Are You Ready to Pay 50 Cents for a Stamp? — Dollars and Sense

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Facing huge budget shortfalls, the United States Postal Service has proposed solutions including closing hundreds of post offices and eliminating Saturday deliveries. Now it may be considering jacking up the price of stamps, too.

The popularity of internet services like online bill pay have led in part to a 1.7 percent decline in mail volume, causing the USPS to anticipate losing $14.1 billion in 2012 — with bigger losses expected in the years to come.

In response, postal officials sent a letter to Congress last Thursday in which they recommended several changes, including the possibility of increasing the price of a stamp from its current 45 cents up to 50 cents. While stamp prices have gone up four times since 2006, chief financial officer Joe Corbett said, “Clearly, we’re [still] underpriced [and] would like the ability to move that price up.”

The USPS says the extra nickel, which would likely be added in one or two-cent increments until 2015, would raise revenues by $1 billion annually. Although taxpayers don’t foot the bill to keep the postal service running, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told Congress that failing to help the organization limit its losses would result in a “long-term burden to the American taxpayer.”


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