ABM Expects 3.5 Percent Postage Increase for 2013
Publishers should plan for standard CPI increases, but no exigent bump.
Periodicals can expect a slightly-higher-than-normal rate increase in postage for next year, but not the exigent hike some had feared, according to recent estimates released by the Association of Business Information & Media Companies [ABM].
An annual increase determined by the Consumer Price Index [CPI] will be about 2.5 to 3 percent, says Jack Widener, ABMâ€™s Postal Counsel, while the U.S. Postal Service [USPS] may also choose to tack on an additional 0.5 percent in â€śbankedâ€ť increases they had not applied in previous years.
The CPI data has been trending downward in recent months, but Widener says itâ€™s too early to tell whether the actual increase will be closer to 2.5 or 3 percent. The same goes for the banked percentageâ€”Widener says itâ€™s 50-50 at this pointâ€”so he suggests publishers budget for a 3.5 percent increase.
An official announcement by the USPS is expected in mid-October, with implementation coming January 27, 2013. Periodical postage was raised 2.133 percent for 2011.
While some publishers are still concerned about the looming possibility of an exigent rate hikeâ€”the USPS pursued a special 4 percent increase last summer but decided to drop the request weeks laterâ€”Widener believes that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is sincere in his stance against it.
â€śThe Postmaster General does not want to put more pressure on the mailers and potentially drive business away,â€ť Widener says. â€śHe doesnâ€™t want to raise pressure on mailers above the CPI. He wants to keep the post office as competitive as he can.â€ť
Instead, ABM lobbyist Tom Carpenter argues, Donahoe is intent on pursuing long-term changes through legislation. An exigent rate increase would only provide short-term relief, while taking the pressure off Congress to enact long-term measures.
â€śI think [itâ€™s] dead on about the postal service wanting to put pressure on Congress,â€ť Carpenter says. â€śI think the postal serviceâ€™s problems are too big to where an exigent rate increase that only diminishes mail volume and drives away customers ultimately is still not in their long-term interests. Their issues are simply too large for even an exigent rate increase to buy them much time.â€ť
Widenerâ€™s estimates come weeks after the USPS announced a $5.2 billion loss for the second quarter.