Lurking rate hike sends MPA lobbying

WASHINGTON: Barely two months after increasing the rate for periodicals by almost 10%, the US Postal Service (USPS) is considering another hike - this time of 15%-20%.

WASHINGTON: Barely two months after increasing the rate for periodicals by almost 10%, the US Postal Service (USPS) is considering another hike - this time of 15%-20%.

WASHINGTON: Barely two months after increasing the rate for periodicals by almost 10%, the US Postal Service (USPS) is considering another hike - this time of 15%-20%.

The proposal has caused the outraged Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) - which had already been planning a comprehensive PR and lobbying campaign to reform the USPS - to refocus its energies on the more immediate task of pre-empting the increase.

If approved, the increase could reportedly cost the magazine industry dollars 500 million in its first year.

'Any real business today would look at other ways of controlling costs instead of simply raising rates,' said Trudy Boyd, VP at Dittus Communications, MPA's agency of record. In addition to a hiring freeze, the MPA, which explored the issue during a similar, successful campaign to decrease January's rate hike, proposed closing unused processing centers and increasing productivity.

'If you've got some serious problem that's threatening the system,' said Jim Creegan, EVP at the MPA, 'let's see what we need to do to fix it, or we'll be back here a year from now looking at another rate increase.'

Beyond stopping the hike, the MPA, Dittus and lobbying firm Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds are engaged in a larger effort to alert the public and Congress to the need for USPS reform.

Bruce Heiman, partner at Preston Gates, named Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), Rep. John McHugh (R-NY), Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) as targets of the lobbying campaign.



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