News Column

Postage Stamps, Shipping Prices Increased

Jan. 27, 2013

Michael Overall

postal rates, stamp prices, increased

Jan. 27-- Losing $25 million a day, the U.S. Postal Service will increase the price of a first-class stamp to 46 cents Sunday, the sixth hike in eight years.

The mail system suffered a record $15.9 billion loss in 2012, including an $11.1 billion default on payments to the U.S. Treasury.

"We are on an unsustainable financial path," Postmaster-General Patrick Donahoe told Congress earlier this month.

"The Postal Service shouldn't have to do business this way."

It has already cut its budget by $15 billion in recent years while shedding 168,000 jobs, or nearly a quarter of its workforce.

But officials need to save another $6.5 billion a year to reach their goal of becoming profitable by 2015.

Possible reforms include the end of Saturday deliveries, consolidating hundreds of distribution centers and closing as many as 3,700 post offices.

An initial plan was going to send all of Tulsa's mail through Oklahoma City to be sorted.

But Tulsa's Processing and Distribution Center survived a first round of consolidations last year, sparing about 600 jobs.

Now postal officials want to speed up "further cost-cutting measures," which presumably includes a second round of consolidating that was already being planned for 2014.

The Postal Service announced last year that another 89 distribution centers would be closed, but officials haven't publicly identified which ones.

Tulsa postal workers were not allowed to comment last week.

Customers seemed to shrug off the price increases.

"I would stock up on stamps, but I never buy them anyway," said Kevin Marshall, who was waiting in line to mail a package at the downtown post office.

"I can't remember the last time I sent a letter to anybody."

Besides the 1-cent increase for first-class stamps, shipping services will go up 4 percent.

Priority mail flat rates will range from $5.80 for small boxes to $16.85 for large boxes.

The Postal Service will continue to offer "Forever Stamps" that will remain valid despite any future price hikes.

And a new "Global Forever Stamp" will let customers send a letter anywhere in the world for the set price of $1.10.

Stamps have gone up six times in the last decade, costing only 37 cents in 2003.

"Everything else keeps getting more expensive," said Patricia Christiansen, dropping off a package downtown. "Why should the mail be any different?" Postage for a 1-ounce letter July 6, 1932: 3 cents

Aug. 1, 1958: 4 cents

Jan. 7, 1963: 5 cents

Jan. 7, 1968: 6 cents

May 16, 1971: 8 cents

March 2, 1974: 10 cents

Dec. 31, 1975: 13 cents

May 29, 1978: 15 cents

March 22, 1981: 18 cents

Nov. 1, 1981: 20 cents

Feb. 17, 1985: 22 cents

April 3, 1988: 25 cents

Feb. 3, 1991: 29 cents

Jan. 1, 1995: 32 cents

Jan. 10, 1999: 33 cents

Jan. 7, 2001: 34 cents

June 30, 2002: 37 cents

Jan. 8, 2006: 39 cents

May 14, 2007: 41 cents

May 12, 2008: 42 cents

May 11, 2009: 44 cents

Jan. 22, 2012: 45 cents

Jan. 27, 2013: 46 cents

Michael Overall 918-581-8383


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