Ahead of rate hikes, U.S. Postal Service unveils first stamp of 2019

By Clyde Hughes

Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Postal Service unveiled Thursday its first new stamp of 2019, about two weeks before the cost of certain mailings goes up.

The USPS unveiled 12 new Forever stamps in its popular "Love" series Thursday. Ten new Cactus Flower Forever stamps will be available next month.


The unveiling Thursday was streamed live on the USPS Facebook page.

The unveiling came about two weeks before rate increases at the postal service take effect. The USPS filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission last fall that the hikes will begin Jan. 27.

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The cost for a one-ounce First-Class Forever stamp will increase from 50 to 55 cents, the largest increase since 1991 when the price of a first-class stamp climbed from 25 to 29 cents. Small flat rate and medium flat rate boxes will increase 70 cents and large flat rate rises more than a dollar, to $19.95. Priority Mail Express will increase about 4 percent, making the cost of sending a letter overnight $25.50.

"The Postal Service has some of the lowest letter mail postage rates in the industrialized world and also continues to offer a great value in shipping," the USPS said. "Unlike some other shippers, the Postal Service does not add surcharges for fuel, residential delivery, or regular Saturday or holiday season delivery."


The Postal Regulatory Commission still must review the charges before they take effect.

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A year ago, President Donald Trump criticized the postal service for having prices too low and losing billions each year.

"Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE," Trump tweeted.

In November, the USPS reported a $3.9 billion loss in fiscal 2018, as overall volume dropped by 3.2 billion pieces. It called then for an "urgent need to advance legislative and regulatory reforms, along with continued aggressive postal management actions to generate new revenue and control costs."

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