Postal Reform on the Horizon
The Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee and the House of Representatives’ Committee on Government Reform hosted the final hearing on postal reform in late March. There, U.S. Postal Service officials had one last opportunity to present their proposals for reform of the USPS.
Postmaster General Jack Potter noted that six-day service and single-digit rate increases are at stake in the near future if Congress does not take steps to give the USPS more control over rate setting and labor costs, as well as relief from funding requirements to civil service and military retirement programs.
Potter noted that the escrow account for civil service retirement over-funding currently proposed by Congress will result in a 5.4 percent increase in postal rates for 2006.
Xenia “Senny” Boone, executive director of the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation, says postal reform is a primary concern for nonprofit organizations because direct mail still is the medium of choice to communicate with donors.
“The impending crisis right now is civil service and military retirement spending,” Boone says. “That’s probably the most immediate concern for nonprofits, because instead of having a 5 to 6 percent increase, we are looking at a 15 percent increase unless it’s taken care of in legislation.”
The three areas the DMA Nonprofit Federation is looking for in legislation are maintaining universal service, establishing rate predictability and stability, and setting forth a strong regulator, i.e., the Postal Rate Commission.
At press time, Senate Governmental Affairs Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-ME) had laid out a tentative timetable for a postal-service overhaul bill, with hopes of signing it some time in May.