There‚Äôs hardly anyone alive who remembers the last time the price of a stamp fell. That was in July 1919, when first-class stamp prices dropped from 3 cents to 2 cents. The other rate reduction came on July 1, 1885, when a 2¬¢ reduction in the price of a letter was ordered.
The reduction is part of a pre-arranged agreement with Congress. The Post Office got to increase the price of stamps by 3 cents in 2014 to help it raise $4.6 billion in revenue. But the price hike was only set to last two years. (It gets to keep one cent of the increase to keep up with inflation).
- As expected, the first-class letter rate will drop to 47¬¢, from 49¬¢.
- The additional ounces of first-class letters will drop to 21¬¢, from 22¬¢.
- International letters will drop to $1.15, from the current $1.20.
- Postcards will fall from 35¬¢ to 34¬¢.
- Prices for forever stamps will also decline on April 10.
The Post Office is practically begging Congress to let it keep stamps at 49 cents. It says rolling back prices to 47 cents will cost the already badly bleeding Post Office $2 billion a year.
“Removing the surcharge and reducing our prices is an irrational outcome considering the Postal Service’s precarious financial condition,” said Postmaster General Megan Brennan in a prepared statement. “Our current pricing regime is unworkable and should be replaced with a system that provides greater pricing flexibility and better reflects the economic challenges facing the Postal Service.”
The Post Office is still reeling from the Great Recession, when its sales fell by $7 billion in 2009 alone. The Postal Service says that package volume is way up over the past few years, but it’s “not nearly enough to offset the decline in revenues” from first-class mail.
Standard mail, such as first-class letters and postcards, make up 76% of the Postal Service’s sales — all of which have prices capped by Congress.