US Post Office raises postal rates

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File photo: People use mail services at the U.S. Post Office in the James Farley Building May 12, 2008 in New York City.

If you still file your income tax forms on paper and plan to mail them in on the deadline, take note – those forms may cost a little more to drop at the post office. The cost of sending many types of mail is going up, starting yesterday.

One reason the U.S. Postal Service has to raise rates is that fewer of us are using paper, pens and stamps. Officials blame the Internet, private delivery companies and the economic recession.

The second ounce of a first-class mailing will cost .20 from now on; it used to be .17. The basic first-class letter rate will remain .44, while postcard rates will inch up – from .28 to .29.

Other mail varieties and services, including parcel post, media mail and signature confirmation, will also cost a bit more. For the Postal Service, a few pennies here and there will add up as the economy improves, but probably not enough to close a budget gap of at least $7 billion.

The federal Postal Regulatory Commission warned in its annual report that the quasi-governmental postal service faces insolvency this fiscal year because of its debt load, retiree pension obligations and a statutory cap on the amount it can borrow.

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