Sunday, November 19, 2017
News Roundup

Postal prices go up each May

RECOMMENDED READING


New postal prices go into effect today. The cost of sending a first-class letter increases by a penny to 42 cents. A large, first-class envelope weighing more than 2 ounces costs $1.00, up 3 cents. Certified mail rises 5 cents to $2.70.

What has been the frequency of these penny increases?

Postage prices last went up in May 2007, with a first-class stamp jumping 2 cents to 41 cents. Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the U.S. Postal Service says it will adjust prices every May. The service gives 90 days' notice of hikes. Price increases used to go before the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, which often took up to a year.

Why don't they raise the price 10 cents and be done with it?

By law prices can increase on average no more than the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The Postal Regulatory Commission calculated that at 2.9 percent through January. So, .029 times 41 cents is just over a penny, 1.189 cents. Fees for package delivery can be raised to compete with private competitors.

How much does it cost to mail a first-class letter to Canada or Mexico?

A 1-ounce letter to Mexico or Canada costs 72 cents, up 3 cents. It will cost you 94 cents to all other countries, up 4 cents.

And for visitors who want to send a postcard home?

It'll cost you 27 cents, up a penny, inside the United States.

What are forever stamps? Will they still be sold?

Forever stamps feature the Liberty Bell but no denomination. They can be used indefinitely, so you can continue to use those forever stamps you purchased at 41 cents. Introduced last year, they have been a hit, with more than 6-billion sold — $267.7-million worth in March alone. Starting today, of course, forever stamps will cost 42 cents. But if you find these annual hikes a nuisance, they're a good option.

Why the increase?

Consider that the use of traditional "snail mail'' has declined. Plummeting new-home sales mean vacant houses with empty mailboxes. Those mail offers of easy credit have dropped. Online bill payments may be good for the trees, but they have reduced first-class mailings. Proposed do-not-mail lists, similar to the do-not-call lists, threaten to reduce third-class mail. Higher gas prices and competition from the likes of FedEx, DHL and UPS have hurt. In March, postal officials estimated an operating deficit of $1-billion this year, the largest since 1995.

Any good news?

Express mail is switching to zone-based pricing, with users paying less for nearby destinations. You'll receive a 3 percent discount by purchasing express mail online or through corporate accounts. Shippers maintaining a quarterly minimum also save. The price for an additional ounce of first-class mail is unchanged (17 cents). Money orders up to $500 still cost $1.05. Priority mail users save by using electronic postage. Parcel return service prices are now based solely on weight, reducing the cost of lighter packages.

Information from the Associated Press, U.S. Postal Service and Times files was used in this report.

Comments

Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Updated: 3 hours ago
No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

PHILADELPHIA — There were so many reasons for UCF coach Scott Frost to worry about his team’s focus. With a huge game against USF looming, playing an improving Temple team in a stadium where the empty seats outnumbered the filled ones by about a 3-1 ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates during the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first: Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL pla...
Updated: 5 hours ago
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

TAMPA — Can the Bucs pull off back-to-back wins with a backup quarterback? Win a game on the road for the first time this season? Politely hand the unnamed trophy for the state’s worst football team back to the Dolphins?With WR Mike Evans back from h...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher longed for his team to play in this type of game throughout its disappointing season.After Hurricane Irma caused a three-week layoff between FSU’s first two games, forcing it to play 11 in a row to finis...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Senate ethics, relatively silent, could face busy year

Senate ethics, relatively silent, could face busy year

WASHINGTON — It’s been nearly six years since the Senate Ethics Committee conducted a major investigation of a sitting senator. Next year, the panel could be working nonstop, deciding the fate of up to three lawmakers, including two facing allegation...
Updated: 5 hours ago