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Postage increase: Get ready to pay 49 cents in another postage stamp increase

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Postage increases are just about as predictable as fireworks on New Year’s Day. Yet another bump up in the price per stamp, to 49 cents, is set to go into effect on January 26, reports the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday.

The increase from 46 cents to just under a half-dollar is only temporary however. Although the term “temporary” is used loosely.

The postage hike will last “just long enough to recover the loss,” Postal Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Ruth Goldway said in announcing the increase.

How long is “long enough?” Goldway said the increase would be close to two years. Similar three cent hikes would apply for other larger parcels of mail.

The Post Office has been hemorrhaging money, as more people and businesses use electronic media to communicate. The independent regulatory commission determined the Postal Service's loss, caused by a substantial 25.3 billion-piece drop in mail volume, was $2.8 billion between 2008 and 2011, Goldway said.

The USPS wanted to make the stamp hike permanent, but the commission rejected their request, stating the service "failed to provide justification for permanent price increases in connection with recession-related mail volume losses."

The Post Office responded, stating they were "disappointed" they could not make the increase a permanent one.

"The Postal Service is disappointed in the Postal Regulatory Commission's split decision to limit the duration of a modest exigent rate increase," the service said in a statement, adding it was reviewing the ruling "in an attempt to determine the basis for the decision."

The last time we saw a three-cent rate increase was in 2002, when stamps were increased from 34 cents to 37 cents.

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