Two weeks hence, on April 17, 2011, an unusual postage rate increase will go into effect. I say unusual because the usual rate increase has the first-class letter rate going up by a penny or two. This time the base rate for both letters and flats stayed the same at 44¢ and 88¢ but the rate for extra ounces jumped from 17¢ to 20¢ (and postcards went up a penny). I suspect not touching the letter rate was a politically safe move for an agency with chronic financial problems.
I've updated my Efficient Business Postage with Stamps article. It's still theoretically possible to handle the first five ounces of business flats with two stamps from a set of four but it's also still the case that the USPS does not issue all the stamps that make this work. Amazingly, just two weeks before the increase, there are no 20¢ extra ounce stamps available. Oh, and no stamp for postcards, either.
Just to stay fair and balanced, the USPS is stepping up the "Forever" program, in which a stamp for a one-ounce letter is good forever - no more make-up stamps. There are several Forever stamps already and the USPS announced late last year that a series of these stamps would be released throughout the year. The collection looks very good and, unlike past commemorative issues, these can be used indefinitely. It is a good, sensible program.