Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter to the American Postal Workers Union asking them to stop running an ad that he calls “misleading” about the financial situation of the Postal Service.
The ad, which began running Monday on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX, talks about the volume of mail that postal workers handle each day, and asks: “Ever wonder what this costs you as a taxpayer? Not a single cent.”
Issa says this is a misrepresentation.
“It is true the Postal Service no longer receives an annual subsidy for basic operations from the federal government, and has not for some time. But the Postal Service does receive support from the American taxpayers,” Issa writes, citing a 2007 Federal Trade Commission report that “includes a long list of implicit subsidies the Postal Service receives that are not available to private companies.”
“According to the report, the Postal Service is exempt from, among other items, federal, state, and local income tax, all state and local taxes (including property tax), and vehicle registration and titling fees. Additionally, the Postal Service has the ability to exercise eminent domain to secure property … Finally, because it can borrow through the U.S. Treasury, the Postal Service is able to borrow at very low interest rates.”
Issa noted that as of the end of the last fiscal year, the USPS “had $4.1 billion in debt with an interest rate below 0.3% as well as an additional short-term revolving credit line of $3.4 billion at an interest rate of 0.206%.”
The American Postal Workers Union ad, Issa said, did not reflect these facts. (Issa introduces bill to ‘prevent bailout’ of Postal Service)
“I ask you not to engage in a campaign to mislead the American people,” the letter concluded.
The ad follows the introduction of a bill last months by Issa to make significant reforms to the Postal Service in order to restore its fiscal solvency and prevent the “taxpayer bailout” that he views as a possible threat if the USPS continues as it is.
The USPS will lose at least $8.3 billion this fiscal year, following an $8.5 billion loss last year. The USPS said in a statement that it was “in danger of running out of cash as early as this October.”