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1st-Class Stamp to Cost 34 Cents, Likely by January

November 14, 2000|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The cost of mailing a letter will be going up a penny, probably in January.

The independent Postal Rate Commission acted Monday on a request by the U.S. Postal Service for a rate increase to offset rising costs.

Under the commission's action, the price of a first-class stamp will rise to 34 cents. But the 22-cent cost of a second ounce of first-class mail will stay the same, as will the 20-cent postcard. The Postal Service had asked that the second-ounce rate be raised by 2 cents and the postcard by 1 cent.

The post office's Board of Governors will decide when the higher rates will go into effect. Jan. 7 is said to be the likely date.

The Postal Rate Commission approved the increase after months of hearings and deliberations.

The commission also raised the cost of mailing 2 pounds of Priority Mail from $3.20 to $3.95.

The last rate increase, which tacked a penny onto the cost of a first-class stamp, was Jan. 10, 1999.

Because it takes so long to print the billions of stamps needed when new rates take effect, the service already has interim stamps in the works.

The next first-class nondenominated stamp is likely to go on sale before the end of the year to allow people to stock up for the change. It will carry a picture of the Statue of Liberty.

The post office had a $363-million profit in its 1999 fiscal year but was expecting to lose money in fiscal 2000, which ended Sept. 30.

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