Nov. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Postal Service took a major step backwards Wednesday after USPS leaders announced a $6.5 billion loss in fiscal year 2023, falling far short of its initial goal of breaking even.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said increased operating costs coupled with a reduction in the number of marketing mailers caused a shortfall in projected revenue. When compared to last year, operating revenue fell $321 million to $78.2 billion, and operating expenses increased 7.3% to $85.4 billion.
In 2021, DeJoy -- in unveiling his "Delivering for America" plan -- said the postal service would break even in the 2023 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. The 10-year plan also calls for building a high-performing and financially self-sustaining operation.
DeJoy said the postal service is "already providing more consistent, reliable, and timely delivery to America's businesses and residences."
"We are also addressing near-term financial headwinds relative to inflation as we make strong progress in our long-term cost control and revenue generating strategies, including launching new products like USPS Ground Advantage," he said. "The whole organization is highly focused on implementation of the Delivering for America plan and creating a more effective, efficient and competitive Postal Service to serve the nation far into the future."
Last year, the service reported a net income of $56 billion, but the primary source of funding was the Postal Service Reform Act.
Keep US Posted, a nonprofit USPS advocacy group, said excessive postage increases are hindering efforts to cut losses. Keep US Posted Executive Director and former Congressman Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., said, "twice-annual, above-inflation postage hikes" made the service's financial problems worse.
"Rate hikes are sabotaging traditional mail, which still accounts for the majority of Postal Service revenue. Not only are the American people slated to endure an unprecedented fourth stamp hike in two years this January, but we'll be bailing out the Postal Service, unless Congress acts now to provide more oversight," Yoder said. "DeJoy shouldn't receive any more blank checks from Congress to only raise postage rates, cut service and drive more debt."