USPS

USPS trucks parked on Cambridge Avenue behind the Central Avenue post office and behind the Christa McAuliffe School PS 28 in the Heights section of Jersey City, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020

U.S. small businesses including community newspapers that use mail to reach some of their customers are criticizing proposed postal rate increases that would take effect Aug. 29.

The News Media Alliance, in a prepared statement, described the price changes as excessive and in some cases seven times the rate of inflation. 

Periodical mail, which is regularly used by local newspapers across the country, would have a rate increase of 8% on average, according to the alliance.

“This increase will have detrimental effects on small businesses, including small-market and rural newspapers that cannot afford the increased costs, particularly as they strive to recover from the economic impact of Covid-19,” said David Chavern, CEO and president of the News Media Alliance.

Some of the nation’s small, rural and minority-owned media companies may be at risk of closing if the price hikes go through, according to the nonprofit trade association, which has 2,000 members, both print and digital.

“These new rates – on top of rates increased earlier in the year – will push mail out of the system and, in some cases, may put companies out of business,” the alliance said in a press release.

The price changes still need approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is asking for postal rate increases to offset a huge drop in people sending mail over the past decade, a trend that is expected to continue.

USPS is projecting $160 billion in operating losses through 2030, if the rate changes do not go through.

The increases apply to individual postage for a first class letter — which would go from 55 cents to 58 cents — as well as to commercial mail.

The additional revenue would allow the postal service to modernize operations and invest in “people, technology and infrastructure,” according to USPS, which has a 10-year plan to stabilize finances.

The plan includes closing some post offices to centralize locations, reducing the use of planes for mail delivery and lengthening promised delivery times.

Contact political reporter Linda F. Hersey at 459-7575 or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.