The proposed stamp price hike is part of a series of changes that would also increase the price of a postcard from 29 cents to 32 cents. The cost of sending international letters, standard mail, packages, and periodicals will rise as well.
Other proposals to cut USPS losses have included reduction of mail delivery from six to five days per week and closing thousands of offices across the country.
The current 44-cent rate has been in effect since May 2009.
“The overall average price increase is small and is needed to help address our current financial crisis,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement to the press. “We continue to take actions within our control to increase revenue in other ways and to aggressively cut costs. To return to sound financial footing we urgently need enactment of comprehensive, long-term legislation to provide the Postal Service with a more flexible business model.”
Last year, the USPS posted a loss of $8.5 billion compared to a $3.8 billion loss in the previous year. In the four year period leading up to 2010, overall mail volume dropped by about 20 percent, leading to a $20 billion net loss.
In case you are wondering, federal laws prevent USPS price increases from exceeding the current inflation rate, which, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index reading, is 2.1 percent.
The current hike in stamp prices do not violate the law.