NNA Joins Broad Mailing Industry Coalition to Overturn Postal Service Rate Hike
January 23, 2014
APPROVAL OF RATE INCREASE WAS BASED ON FLAWED AND INACCURATE STUDIES OF THE CAUSES OF MAIL VOLUME LOSSES
WASHINGTON DC – National Newspaper Association today joined a broad coalition of postal customers and suppliers to ask the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to overturn a December 24 decision of the Postal Regulatory Commission (“PRC”) approving a postage rate hike of six percent—more than triple the rate of inflation. The PRC justified the rate hike as an emergency measure to offset losses that the 2007-2009 recession supposedly inflicted on the United States Postal Service (“USPS”). The main cause of the Postal Service’s losses in recent years, however, is the public’s increased use of the Internet instead of mail. The law was designed to prevent the Postal Service from recovering this kind of loss through above-inflation rate increases.
The appeal is sponsored by a broad coalition of companies and mailer groups that represent every major class of mail, and the majority of mail volume, in the United States. The mail affected by the rate hike includes personal correspondence, bills and invoices, magazines and newspapers, catalogs and other advertising mail, and many kinds of parcel mail.
NNA President Robert M. Williams, Jr., publisher of the Blackshear (GA) Times, said NNA joined the appeal out of concern for the impact upon newspapers and other local businesses.
“The 2006 law gave us predictable and stable postal rates, and that was a very good thing through the Great Recession. Congress wrote in a clause to allow exigent—or emergency—increases when the Postal Service faced unforeseeable circumstances. Using that clause to hike postage rates so much beyond inflation now to deal with the inevitable adjustments needed because of digital diversion is the wrong way to go. This unfortunate increase harms our newspapers and other businesses that are critical to driving local economies. We think USPS and the PRC should take another look and we hope the court agrees,” he said.
The coalition joining the appeal includes: Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, American Catalog Mailers Association, Association for Postal Commerce, Association of Marketing Service Providers, Direct Marketing Association, Inc., The Envelope Manufacturers Association, Greeting Card Association, Major Mailers Association, MPA—The Association of Magazine Media, National Association of Presort Mailers, National Newspaper Association, National Postal Policy Council, Newspaper Association of America, Printing Industries of America, Quad/Graphics, Inc., Saturation Mailers Coalition, and Software & Information Industry Association/American Business Media.