Believe it or not, the US Postal Service is still setting records. On Dec. 18, 2017, more than 37 million packages were delivered (the most packages delivered in a single day) in the postal service’s more than 200-year history. Yet, USPS continues to suffer from falling losses for 11 years straight.
Why? Well, USPS has had to cut costs for years in an effort to pre-fund its retiree health care program – often at the expense of the service it provides. Essentially, these obligations prevent the organization from investing in the infrastructure that so critically needs attention.
Welcome the Postal Service Reform Act of 2018.
This reform act was written by a bipartisan group of senators, and the bill would address many problems that have been hindering the postal service as mail volumes continue to decline. The proposed bill has the following in store for USPS:
- The government will do away with the existing statutory payment schedule, along with any outstanding payments, and will amortize payments over 40 years.
- Restore half of the temporary rate increase while freezing further rate increases until a new rate system can be put in place by the Postal Regulatory Commission.
- Create a new Postal Service Health Benefits Program within the Federal Employee and Retiree Health Benefits Program administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
- Introduce new non-postal product and services, like shipping wine or spirits, as well as creating partnerships with state governments.
- Improve transparency of results, meaning that performance for both retail and delivery would be very visible and easily accessible, for all to see.
This new legislation has received support from some printing and mailing industry organizations, however the House of Representatives rejected the bill. The Postal Regulatory Commission is on a mission to stabilize the USPS this year by raising postage stamps to 64 cents over the next five years. Time will tell how the government will ensure affordable and reliable mail service for all. We’ll provide updates here as things progress.
Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash