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Stamp Prices To Rise Next Year

June 30, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The cost of mailing a letter will go up by a penny early next year, the Postal Service’s governing board announced today.

The new rates, approved by the independent Postal Rate Commission earlier this year, will take effect Jan. 10, 1999, board chairman Sam Winters said.

The new rates will boost the cost of mailing a first-class letter by one cent, to 33 cents. A variety of other increases will affect other classes of mail.

``This penny increase is the right amount at the right time,″ Winters said at the postal governors’ monthly meeting.

``The rate adjustment is being made to provide a continuing investment in America’s communications future,″ he said.

The decision to implement the rate increase in January ends wide speculation about when it would take effect. Congress last week urged a delay in implementing the new rates. Winters said the January date was picked after ``customer and congressional input.″

Although the Postal Service has made a profit of more than $1 billion in each of the last three years, Winters stressed that the agency ``does not, does not, have a surplus.″

He noted that the accumulated debt of the agency has been reduced but not eliminated and the rate increase is necessary for the agency to continue operations and to make necessary investment in new equipment.

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