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Cost of Mailing a Letter May Go Up Next Year--by 1 to 4 Cents

March 12, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Postage rates will probably rise in 1988--a year earlier than anticipated--because of increases in postal employee retirement costs, according to Deputy Postmaster General Michael S. Coughlin.

A new retirement system ordered by Congress could cost the Postal Service $2 billion in additional spending over the next two years, Coughlin said in a speech Wednesday to New York-based mailing companies.

"This new requirement will force the Postal Service to . . . propose an increase in postal rates to go into effect in 1988, a year earlier than we had planned," Coughlin said.

While he did not detail the amount of the increase in his prepared speech, the New York Times reported today that Coughlin estimated the hike at between 1 cent and 4 cents on first-class letters. The current first-class rate is 22 cents.

Postal Service spokesman Bob Hoobing later said that Coughlin had been asked if the hike would be as much as 4 cents, and had said "probably not."

A rate hike is not a certainty, Hoobing added, stressing that while it will be recommended by management, a final decision to go ahead is up to the agency's governing board, which meets April 6-7 in Dallas.

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