NNA asks Postal Regulatory Commission to stop hammering newspapers with rate surcharges

May 10, 2023

National Newspaper Association Chair John M. Galer today asked the Postal Regulatory Commission to stop adding a 2% surcharge onto postage rate increases as part of its efforts to bring Periodicals mail back into being a profitable product for the Postal Service.

Galer, publisher of The Journal-News in Hillsboro, Illinois, also expressed support for a new postage discount for marketing mailers. Under USPS’ current proposal, saturation shopper publications (sent to every address or ever residential address at marketing mail rates) will receive a 10% discount if they mail packages under 2 ounces that contain at least four different advertisers’ messages. The mailings will have to be sent at least 10 times a year.

USPS plans to implement another postage increase in excess of 8% for most newspapers’ Periodicals mail on July 9. That change will push the increases since January 2021 to more than 30% over rates charged before the PRC changed the postal rate rules in 2020. Among the charges are a regulatory 2% surcharge for every mail class that does not produce enough revenue to cover USPS costs.

“This surcharge is adding insult to injury,” Galer said. “In the history of newspapers and magazines in the mail, they have rarely covered all postal costs. A small exception was in 2006 just after USPS implemented an extraordinarily large increase — and before iPhones came out. That lasted just a couple of years. Since then, Periodicals have been under water.

“Subscribers, who are the ultimate payers of these rates, simply cannot keep up with the ever-rising postage costs,” he continued. “The Commission may have thought that these aggressive charges would somehow change that equation, but it has not and it will not. The surcharge provides USPS with very little revenue, but it is hurting newspaper subscribers. We think it is time for the PRC to change its rule.”

The Postal Service is required to seek PRC review of its semiannual postage increases. Typically, the PRC approves the increases.

Read NNA's letter here.