The price of a first-class postage stamp jumped temporarily three pennies to 49 cents Sunday, as the U.S. Postal Service struggles with a $5 billion budget shortfall last year
Federal regulators approved the increase for 24 months back in December, even though the postal service had raised the cost of the stamp from 45 to 46 cents just a year ago, according to the Associated Press.
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Along with raising stamp prices, the postal service has been trying to convince Congress that it should end Saturday delivery and cut its payments to its retiree health benefits plan.
Even though the increase is the largest price jump for the stamp in the past 11 years, the Postal Regulatory Commission mandates that the raise is for just two years. This has garnered legal disputes from the postal service and bulk mailers, according to the Washington Post.
The mail service wants the price increase to be permanent, while the bulk mailing industry claims that the price jump was more than the rate of inflation, far higher than past increases.
In its appeal, the postal service is asking the District of Columbia's U.S. Court of Appeals to prevent the phase out of the increase, saying the recession created "exigent" circumstances for the price jump.
The bulk mail industry complained in court that the increase is due to structural problems with the postal service, and not economics, and the hike should have been rejected.
"We hope the legal system will see through the Postal Service’s fuzzy math," Mary G. Berner, president of the Association of Magazine Media, said in a statement, according to the Post.
The magazine association is part of a coalition of postal mailers, including direct marketers and newspapers, which is challenging the commission's ruling.
Postcard mailings will rise to 34 cents each, and an additional ounce stamp for first class mail will go for 21 cents. A first-class two-ounce stamp will sell for 70 cents, a first-class three-ounce stamp for 91 cents and a Priority Mail Express flat-rate stamp for $19.99, per the Washington Post.
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