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chapter 3
financial highlights

Postal Service financial results in 2005 and beyond. Congress is considering legislation that would amend P. L. 108–18 consistent with the Postal Service's recommendations. However the specific provision for amending P. L. 108–18 is part of a broad Postal Reform bill currently before Congress. That legislation incorporates many of the recommendations contained in the July 31, 2003 Report of the President's Commission on the United States Postal Service. At the close of the 108th Congress, that legislation had not yet been acted upon.

D. Federal Government Appropriations

By law, the Postal Service is authorized to receive two types of appropriations from the federal government — for public service costs and revenue forgone. Previously, transitional appropriations provided a means to fund costs related to the former Post Office Department (POD) and thereby shelter ratepayers from such costs. Workers' compensation costs related to claims arising prior to July 1, 1971, were the last known POD cost. In the Balanced Budget Reform Act of 1997 Congress transferred responsibility for these costs to the Postal Service and rescinded the section of Title 39 that authorized transitional appropriations to the Postal Service.

Currently, appropriations are made only for revenue forgone. These accounted for less than 0.1 percent of total Postal Service revenue in 2004. During 1971, the final year of the POD prior to creation of the Postal Service, appropriations totaled almost 25 percent of total revenue.

The Postal Service currently is authorized to request up to $460 million for public service costs. This is the amount authorized by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 and is not intended to represent the present cost of providing universal service. The Postal Service has neither requested nor received any public service costs reimbursement since 1982. This is the equivalent of returning $10 billion to the U. S. government and taxpayers.

Table 3-9 Historical and Present - Year Impact of Congressional Appropriations on Mail Revenue 1971, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2004
Year Total Mail
($ millions)
Mail Revenue
($ millions)
Appropriation Category Income From
($ millions)
as a Precent(%) of
Total Mail Revenue
1971* 8,752 6,665 Deficiency in rates and fees,
and Public Service
2,087 23.8%
1976 blank blank Free and Reduced-Rate Mail 725 blank
blank blank Reconciliation for Prior Years none blank
blank blank Public Service 920 blank
12,844 11,199 blank 1,645** 12.8
1986 blank blank Free and Reduced-Rate Mail 750 blank
blank blank Reconciliation for Prior Years (34) blank
blank blank Public Service 0 blank
30,818 30,102 blank 716 2.3
1996 blank blank Free and Reduced-Rate Mail 93 blank
blank blank Public Service 0 blank
56,402 56,309 blank 93 0.2
2004 blank blank Free Mail for the Blind and
Overseas Voting
55 blank
blank blank Reconciliation for Prior Years (19) blank
blank blank Public Service 0 blank
68,996 68,960 blank 36 0.1%

*The amounts for 1971 are from the Post Office Department in the year prior to the creation of the Postal Service.

**This amount does not include the appropriation for Post Office Department Transitional Costs.