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League Legislative Agenda
The Postal Service is not irrelevant in today’s diverse communications environment. Not only is the Postal Service still critical to the economy, but—according to its own conservative projections—it is projected to come much closer to break even this year if one does not take into account the multiple prefunding requirements with which it is burdened. These are requirements that no other public sector or private sector firm has to bear. The statement that the Postal Service is losing $25 million daily goes directly to the question of these prefunding requirements rather than to the question of its income covering its operating costs. The Postal Service is at the heart of an $800 billion mailing industry that serves businesses and sustains local economies all across the country. The postal system is alive, well, functioning and critical to those economies, as well as the national economy; but it needs relief from its prefunding burden.
Don’t forget about the Postal Service. Amidst all the polarization spats in Washington, D.C., amidst all the bickering over the last fiscal cliff and the next fiscal cliff, Congress must not forget its fundamental constitutional duty to provide timely and efficient postal services to all communities and all local economies in our country. Businesses, economies, and millions of private sector jobs depend on it. The Postal Service clearly has challenges, but those challenges stem fundamentally from the prefunding requirements, and not from the diversion of mail to electronics. The Postal Service has had in place plans to deal with electronic diversion for years. Just in the last 24 months, it has reduced head count by roughly 60,000 employees, consolidated 70 mail-processing centers, and reduced hours at thousands of post offices across the country.
The Postal Service has prefunding responsibilities that are unreasonable. When it was taken out of the President’s cabinet 43 years ago, the idea was to eliminate government subsidies to the Postal Service and have it operate on its own revenues. That happened. Today, however, smoke and mirror techniques created by different federal agencies to exploit Postal Service revenues have turned the tables so that there is now a subsidy from the Postal Service to the federal government, and that is the cause of most of the Postal Service’s current challenges.
Legislative action in the form of constructive postal reform needs to happen now.
League Legislative Position Papers
Please click to view the League Legislative Debriefing form (pdf)