USPS raises First-Class Mail rates

Time to dig out those one-cent stamps. The cost of mailing a letter inside the country is set to cost a penny more, as the U.S. Postal Service raised its First-Class Mail stamp rate from 44 to 45 cents, effective Jan. 22.

According to Valley City Postmaster Sherry Johnson, the overall price increase is small and is needed to help address the Postal Service's current financial crisis. The price hike comes on the heels of the Postal Service sustaining a $5.1 billion net loss for the fiscal year ending in September 2011.

Last fall, USPS Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe proposed radical changes to postal services nationwide, such as eliminating Saturday delivery, closing thousands of post offices and mail processing centers, and laying off workers to avoid financial collapse. According to Donahoe, 500 post offices closed in 2011, and 700-800 more locations are being studied for possible closure.

The U.S. Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage products and services to fund its operations.
The increase will be the first stamp rate change in over two and a half years, but according to Johnson, customers can continue to send letters at the current postage price by purchasing Forever stamps before Jan. 22.

"That's why Forever stamps were created, to help consumers ease the transition during price changes," Johnson said in a recent release.

Other First-Class Mail services that will see rate increases include postcards, which will have a 3-cent increase to 32 cents, letters to Canada or Mexico will be raised to 85 cents, and letters to all other international destinations will undergo a 7-cent raise to $1.05.

Prices will also change for other mailing options, including standard mail, periodicals, package services and extra services. New mailing and shipping service prices are available at