Postal Commentary: iPOST and the Exigent Surcharge

Production Solutions

Postal rates, reform and regulation can be difficult to understand, especially when it comes to quantifying the impact on a nonprofit’s bottom line.

Our Postal Expert Darin Marks sheds light on the pending iPost legislation and has created our Exigent Surcharge Rollback Calculator to help our partners calculate potential savings this year. This tool is designed to calculate estimated savings based on mail quantity and postage type.

Though definitive rates are not yet available, we can help our nonprofit partners better understand the postal landscape as it stands now.  Let’s start with iPOST.

iPOST stands for the Improving Postal Operations, Service and Transparency Act. It is a postal reform legislation created by the USPS and Senator Tom Carper (D – Del.). Here is a summary of the legislation from Senator Carper’s senate page.

The immediate concern for nonprofits, and the mailing industry as a whole is in section 301 of the legislation. This section proposes that the Exigent Surcharge become permanent. To offset that, the Postal Service wouldn’t raise rates again until at least January 2018. However, the current USPS increase regulations are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which allows for a rate increase in January 2017 or, if the CPI remains flat, the increase may need to wait until 2018 anyway. This means the proposed offset isn’t as good as it sounds for the industry.

Taking all this information into consideration, it’s important to remember this is just proposed legislation right now. My team (along with other industry leaders) is fairly confident that any changes are quite a ways off. The Senate & House of Representatives would both have to draft bills of equal reform and then they would have to be reviewed and approved by the Conference Committee, voted on by the Senate and the House, and then given to the President to sign. This is no small feat for a Congress who has been working for a decade already to pass new Postal Reform, and has gotten no further than they are today. It is also an election year, so passing new postal legislation isn’t at the top of most lawmaker’s priority lists.

I would encourage partners to keep reading about both iPOST and the Exigent Surcharge. Below is a list of resources that might be helpful, and as always, I’ll be tracking any updates and changes so feel free to reach out to a member of the PS|PS Digital Team if you have any additional questions.

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