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3 cents stamp increase applies to letters, newspapers, other mailings

Published on Thursday, December 26, 2013

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First-class mail, newspapers and magazines are among the items that will be affected by the 3 cents U.S. Postal Service rate increase beginning Jan. 26.

First-class mail, newspapers and magazines are among the items that will be affected by the 3 cents U.S. Postal Service rate increase beginning Jan. 26.

Postal regulators on Tuesday approved a price hike of 3 cents for a first-class stamp making the cost of mailing a letter 49 cents.

The price increase will apply to first-class mail, magazines, newspapers, advertising mail and bills — which together account for most of the 158 billion pieces of mail delivered every year.

The increase is temporary, no more than two years, and will allow the Postal Service to recoup $2.8 billion in losses. Consumers may purchase forever stamps until the new effective rate of Jan. 26.

The Independent Postal Regulatory Commission voted 2-1 to reject making the price increase permanent. However, inflation over the next two years may make it permanent.

The Postal Service reported it lost $5 billion in the last fiscal year which was an improvement over the reportedly $15.9 billion loss in 2012. No tax monies can be used for the independent agency and its operations, which is under congressional control.

The postal service has been urging Congress to pass legislation to help with it financial problems including an end to Saturday mail delivery and reduced payments on retiree health benefits.

The new price of a postcard stamp was raised by a penny to 34 cents in November. It’s also effective next month.

The last price increase for stamps was in January, when the cost of sending a letter rose by a penny to 46 cents. A post card also increased by one cent to 33 cents and becomes effective next month.

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