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Moving Wyoming Mail Processing Out of State is Bad Policy

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Wyoming is one of the last rural states to be hit with the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) inappropriately named “Delivering for America” plan to cut costs, regardless of the cost of doing some of the hair-brained schemes included in it.

The current plan is to move the Cheyenne mail processing center duties to Denver this year, then in 2025 reduce the already understaffed and overworked Casper postal workforce by shifting mail processing to Denver. 

Such money-saving moves elsewhere have not proven to save any money. In fact, the postal service is projected to lose more than $7 billion this year – after Congress bailed it out about a year ago on the promise of it becoming self-sufficient. Prior to the bailout and some changes promised to further cut costs, USPS was losing $5.5 billion to $6 billion a year, so the Delivering for America plan isn’t saving any money so far.

Meanwhile, plans generated under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s tenure have cut service and delayed general mail, including first class and periodicals – two mainstay profit centers for nearly two centuries. 

Instead, the USPS plan focuses on package delivery, including sweetheart deals with Amazon and others requiring costly seven-day-a-week delivery, but only for packages.

Moving mail processing centers, such as closing Cheyenne’s and sending the mail to Denver, simply delays first class and periodical mail even more. Periodical mail, which includes newspapers like this one, can now be delayed by 72 hours at each post office it flows through. 

In many documented cases, newspapers mailed out of state can take a week or several weeks to reach their destination – if they ever do.

To add insult to injury, as DeJoy is cutting service to his primary postal customers – you and me – he is raising prices. His latest increase demand, at nearly 30 percent for periodicals, was to take effect this month. 

He already raised the price for first class stamps in 2023, and he has plans for similar price increases in the next few years.

The removal of Wyoming’s last processing center this year, if allowed to go through, will push mail delays even more. Everything from invoices and payments to small businesses, which rely on timely receipts to stay in business, will take longer to get to their destinations and will likely cost more.

So far, numerous businesses, individual Wyoming residents, postal unions and industry reps have openly opposed the move. The Wyoming Congressional delegation – the only people with any power to stop it – are engaged as well, but as DeJoy has found in other states, there is little anyone can do to stop his master plan to cut service, increase costs and eliminate employees, while switching to an all-electric vehicle fleet to deliver the mail.

DeJoy, a President Trump appointee into the quasi-independent federal agency, is a carryover into the Biden administration, and he has little accountability except to Congress. 

But, instead of supporting businesses and taking care of his primary customers – all of the taxpaying public – DeJoy is courting the likes of Amazon and other online retailers, which puts him in head-to-head competition with UPS and FedEx, among others. 

Congress needs to intervene and remind DeJoy monopoly granted to the post office for first class and periodical mail exists for a good reason.

One final note – the price increases and service delays are actually costing the postal service money. 

As those two issues begin costing businesses and other big users, they are pushing more highly-profitable mail out of the USPS system and into electronic formats, while package service in the highly competitive market doesn’t even come close to making up the losses.

His plan is actually making the financial picture at the postal service worse every year. Congress needs to stop it.

Matt Adelman is the publisher of the Douglas Budget. This column is reprinted through the Wyoming News Exchange.

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