The latest USPS news -- and free registration for our preview of 2016 webinar!                                                                                                             

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PRONEWS December 2015
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A New Year's Gift from USPS
And maybe a little more in the spring...?

The outlook for postal rates in 2016 is becoming a little clearer, and it looks like good news for mailers – and maybe great news, depending on our friends on Capitol Hill. We have friends there, right?

At the MTAC meetings in November (MTAC is the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee, the summa plus ultra of postal nerd-dom), the Postal Service made two important announcements:

Important Announcement One: They will not raise rates for "noncompetitive" products (that is pretty much Standard, First-Class, and Periodicals letters and flats) in 2016. No rate increase in 2016. 

Important Announcement Two: They acknowledged that the Exigent Surcharge is a thing, and that they are supposed to get rid of it in April or so. Up to this point, the Postal Service had preferred to regard the rates as just the rates – not a surcharge. Now they acknowledge that it is a surcharge, and should be removed sometime in April. They are in planning stages, changing forms, regulations – it's not simple to change rates – up or down.

So, if all goes well, postage should be reduced across the board some Sunday in April by about 4.3%. "Should" is the operative word. "Should" and "will" are two different words – entirely different sections of the dictionary. Our aforementioned friends in Congress may yet weigh in.

The Postal Service is in a tough spot. They lost $5.1 billion in the fiscal year they just completed – of course most of that was from paying bills they don't like, like prefunding retirement and health care plans. If you take away the bills they don't like paying, they actually had a surplus of about $1.2 billion, which they would not have had without the exigent surcharge. They really don't want to give that back, but the doggone law says they have to…unless… Unless they can get the law changed! 

Meet iPost. No, iPost is not what you hang your digital fence on. It's the "Improving Postal Operations, Service, and Transparency Act of 2015." We're not sure why they used a little "i" - maybe "Improving" is not an important objective, but more likely it just looked cooler that way. 

iPost is a postal reform bill introduced by Senator Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat who is often involved in Postal Service legislation. We talked about this bill in our October issue. The bill would, among other things, freeze postage rates until 2018, and make the exigent rates permanent. Since October, the bill has gained bipartisan support and additional cosponsors, increasing its chance of passage. It is not a particularly tough sell to the public – no new taxes, no reduction in services, jobs saved – all you need to do is not reduce postage. Plus it makes it look like Congress does something. We think this bill has a decent chance of passing. See more details here.

So if you were planning on spending your exigency elimination windfall on an extravagant gift for your favorite direct mail vendor, you may want to hold off a bit. It's not quite a sure thing yet. Still, a worst case scenario is a couple of years of stable postage rates, and that's not such a bad gift. 

Happy Holidays!!

January 7th's Thinking Out Loud: A Preview of 2016!
Finally! A reason to look forward to January!

We kick off our Thinking Out Loud webinar series for 2016 on January 7th with our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Dave Lewis, previewing what to expect in the coming year.  The webinar is at 12:30, and will last 30 minutes – it's the next best thing to a three-martini lunch.

In this fast-paced presentation, Dave will offer insights into trends to expect in 2016, as well as what steps you need to take to prepare and optimize your mailings. Among the topics to be covered:

  • Postal rates and legislation – Whee! 
  • USPS 2016 Promotions – can you really participate in them? (Hint:  maybe…)
  • Cool technologies, and how they work with direct mail:
    • IP Targeting
    • SMS Texting
    • USPS email notifications
  • Other important trends in mailing techniques and technology

Dave has been in the trenches of direct marketing for decades, and will bring valuable insights to his presentation. This will be an energetic kick-off to the New Year! Go ahead and break out that 2016 calendar and mark it in ink. Thinking Out Loud: A Preview of 2016, Thursday, January 7, 2016, at 12:30 pm.

Click HERE to register. It's FREE!

 

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