Panel considers raising stamp price to 46 cents

The independent commission that oversees the Postal Service is preparing to deliver its verdict on a request for a 2-cent increase - to 46 cents - in the cost of mailing a letter.

The Postal Regulatory Commission plans to reveal its decision on requested rate increases at a news conference Thursday.

In July the Postal Service proposed raising first-class postage from 44 cents to 46 cents as part of a strategy for dealing with a deepening financial crisis. The Postal Service lost $3.8 billion last year and is on track to lose $7 billion this year and next.

With mail volume continuing to decline in the Internet age and the economic meltdown reducing advertising mail, the Postal Service is seeking other rate increases as well.