Nonprofit group says Issa changed his mind on nonprofit discounts

From the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers:

Washington, DC, June 27, 2012 – Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform and the leading sponsor of the postal reform bill, H.R. 2309, informed the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers yesterday that Section 403 of the bill will be deleted when the bill goes to the House floor for a vote later this summer. The Alliance had strongly opposed Section 403, which would have eliminated nonprofit postal rates over a 12-year period.

The Alliance greeted the news with relief. “We have averted a serious problem,” said Meta Brophy, Director Publishing Operations at Consumer Reports. “Congratulations to the Alliance members that took the time to educate their Representatives about the importance of this issue. And kudos to Chairman Issa and his colleagues, who recognized the importance of preserving the benefits offered by the nonprofit sector to a healthy civil society, especially now, when the government’s resources have become so overstretched.”

Nonprofit postal rates have existed for nearly a century. This has reflected a judgment by the American people that discounted postal rates, like tax exemption, were a cost-effective way of providing needed public services at a lower cost than government would incur. Nonprofit rates also reflect a belief that a flourishing nonprofit sector strengthens our civil society and encourages democracy by promoting a diversity of organizations that mediate between the government and the individual.

Elimination of Section 403 frees the Alliance and its members to support the House bill. “Now we can support H.R. 2309 publicly.”

The greatest virtue of H.R. 2309, she explained, is the willingness of its sponsors to tackle the Postal Service’s basic structural problem: the organization’s out-of-control costs. “The USPS has too many underused post offices; too many mail processing hubs; and too many employees for the shrinking volume of mail it handles. All of this is burdening the USPS with billions of dollars a year in excess costs.”

“The House bill authorizes the creation of a control board and other cost cutting measures to tackle these problems if the USPS and its stakeholders are unable or unwilling to do so. The USPS needs to operate on sustainable long-term financial footing, ensuring that nonprofit organizations – and everyone else – can continue to rely on the mail.”

“We are under no illusion that the cost cutting will be painless. The tough economic times of the past five years have forced nonprofits to lay off employees, reduce overhead costs, and cut mission-related spending to survive. The necessary restructuring of the USPS almost certainly will mean further belt-tightening by all of its stakeholders, including nonprofits. But there really is no alternative. Without these reforms, the USPS faces a future of red ink, runaway rate increases, declining mail volume, and taxpayer-funded bailouts.”

“The choice is straightforward: we want the USPS to achieve long-run financial sustainability. We do not want to let the public enterprise that Benjamin Franklin founded become another Greece.”