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It will soon cost a bit more to mail a letter. But the increase could be temporary.
In September, the United States Postal Service announced it wanted to increase the price of a first-class stamp from 46 to 49 cents. The proposed change would go into effect on Sunday, Jan. 26. In its proposal, other costs would also increase, which include the cost of mailing postcards rising from 33 to 34 cents each.
As a whole, the changes are expected to generate $2 billion in revenue for the postal service, according to a news release. The proposed changes were to be reviewed for final approval before they can go into effect.
According to various media reports, the rates were approved last Tuesday as a way to help the postal service recover from a severe decrease in the use of mail.
Forever stamps, which can be used to mail first-class letters no matter the future cost of a stamp, can be purchased through Jan. 26 at 46 cents each.
Media reports state that the higher postal rate might not last forever. The rate is expected to last no more than two years, to allow the postal service to recoup $2.8 billion in financial losses. A request to make the cost a permanent increase was denied, though media reports state that inflation might make the increase permanent regardless.
Also increasing is the cost of bulk mail, periodicals and package services, which will cost 6 percent more.
The postal service receives no tax dollars to operate. According to its website, the service has an annual revenue of more than $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world's mail.
And though the postal service doesn't receive tax money, it can't raise its prices higher than the inflation rate without approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission. The 3-cent increase in first-class mail rate is higher than inflation.
The postal service has struggled in recent years and many solutions have been discussed to solve its financial problems. Proposals have included doing away with Saturday mail, eliminating door-to-door delivery, restructuring its health plan, expanding products and services and more. No official changes have been made to Saturday mail or door-to-door delivery.
According to the postal service's report for its 2012-2013 fiscal year, it ended the year with a $5 billion loss. The year is the seventh consecutive that the postal service has ended with a net loss.