Postal Service Reports $15.9 Billion Loss
WASHINGTON — The Postal Service on Thursday reported a record $15.9 billion net loss for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, bringing the financially troubled agency another step closer to insolvency.
The widely expected loss, more than triple the service’s loss last year, included accounting expenses of $11.1 billion related to two payments that the agency was supposed to make into its future retiree health benefits fund. But because of revenue losses, the post office was for the first time forced to default on these payments, which were due in August and October. Nearly $5 billion in other losses were due to a decline in revenue from mailing operations. The agency also reached its $15 billion borrowing limit from the Treasury.
Despite its financial troubles, officials said that the post office would continue to operate as usual and that employees and suppliers would be paid on time. The agency had warned that it could face a $100 million cash crunch in the month of October because of a decline in revenue. But the agency reported more than $500 million in revenue from candidates, political parties and other interest groups sending out campaign mail before the election. The agency said the revenue from political mail and the holiday season should help its cash situation until Congress acts on legislation to overhaul the post office.
“The Postal Service is facing a fiscal cliff of its own, and any unanticipated drop in mail volumes could send the agency over the edge,” said Art Sackler, a coordinator of the coalition. “If Congress fails to act, there could be postal slowdowns or shutdowns that would have catastrophic consequences for the eight million private-sector workers whose jobs depend on the mail.”