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Blumenthal criticizes USPS rate hikes and calls for reconsideration

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut said he’s strongly opposed to the upcoming postage rate hikes. On Monday, the Democratcalled on the United States Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission to reconsider their decision.

The new rate increase, effective July 14, will raise "Forever" stamp postage from 68 cents to 73 cents. This marks the sixth increase since 2021, resulting in a total hike of 23%, wihch, according to Blumenthal, is nearly 200% above the inflation rate during this period.

He said USPS needs to find other ways to make up profits, as fewer items are going through the mail system.

"From 2006 to 2023, mail volume has gone from 213 billion pieces to 116 billion pieces. This disastrous decline is simply excessive and unsustainable,” he said.

While a nickel increase may not seem significant to occasional stamp users, Blumenthal emphasized that the Postal Service's efforts to increase revenue and profit compromise affordability for individuals and businesses.

At the U.S. Post Office on Washington Street in Hartford - Senator Richard Blumenthal calls on the U.S. Postal Service to reconsider a rate increase from 68 cents to 73 cents that is scheduled to go into effect on July 14, 2024. This is the sixth rate increase in the last three years due to a lower mail volume.
Dave Wurtzel
/
Connecticut Public
At the U.S. Post Office on Washington Street in Hartford - Senator Richard Blumenthal calls on the U.S. Postal Service to reconsider a rate increase from 68 cents to 73 cents that is scheduled to go into effect on July 14, 2024. This is the sixth rate increase in the last three years due to a lower mail volume.

"The ripple effect will be throughout the economy whether it is a corner store on Main Street or the major corporation that employs hundreds, even thousands of people," Blumenthal said.

Upon learning about the price increases, some state residents expressed frustration, fearing that rising postage costs would worsen existing financial strains.

“That’s abuse!” said Carlos Soto, a Hartford resident. “ Everything is going up, increase in service, increase in food, increase in life in gas, it’s too much.”

“It's gonna affect us,” said Juliana Santos, another Hartford resident. “We’re already dealing with financial situations with the increase of the rent, and the light [and] gas. I think this is very unfair.”

In a press release about the requested rate increases, USPS said the price adjustments were necessary.

“As changes in the mailing and shipping marketplace continue, these price adjustments are needed to achieve the financial stability,” the statement said. “USPS prices remain among the most affordable in the world.”

Responding to the Postal Service's justification that the rate hikes are necessary to keep up with declining mail usage due to technological advancements, Blumenthal argued that this approach is counterproductive.

"It will simply drive down the use,” he said. “People will no longer send birthday cards, they will no longer use the mail to advertise the upcoming sale, and it's a very short-term fix designed to be a disaster.”

Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.

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