In the never-ending search for new revenues to fill state coffers, South Dakota has approved a troubling new tax law. The law is in direct defiance of the Supreme Court and settled case law, and what’s more, the Mount Rushmore State knows it’s unconstitutional. The law requires small- and medium-sized businesses that have no physical presence to collect sales taxes from their South Dakota-based customers. The state’s target? Remote sellers from around the country that aim to provide goods to residents via catalog or online. What’s worse, South Dakota has sued several such businesses and put them in legal jeopardy. This is nothing more than legislative and legal bullying – “pay up or we will sue you.” In response, the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) and NetChoice have jointly filed a complaint against the state, urging that the statute be declared invalid. The law in this case is crystal clear, and South Dakota’s law should be invalidated by the courts. The underlying dispute in this matter goes back 24 years. In 1992, the Supreme Court found in the case Quill Corp. v. North Dakota that, under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, states do not have the power to require sales tax collection by out-of-state sellers having no physical presence in that state. The vote was not close, 8-1 on that critical constitutional issue.
The United States Postal Service filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) today of price changes to take effect Jan. 27, 2019.
The proposed prices, approved by the Governors of the Postal Service, would raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 2.5 percent. Shipping Services price increases vary by product. For example, Priority Mail Express will increase 3.9 percent and Priority Mail will increase 5.9 percent. Although Mailing Services price increases are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Shipping Services prices are primarily adjusted according to market conditions. The Governors believe these new rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with needed revenue.
If favorably reviewed by the PRC, the new prices will include a 5-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, from 50 cents to 55 cents. The single-piece additional ounce price will be reduced to 15 cents, so a 2-ounce stamped letter, such as a typical wedding invitation, will cost less to mail, decreasing from 71 cents to 70 cents.
The proposed Mailing Services price changes include:
Product Current Proposed
Letters (1 oz.) $0.50 $0.55
Letters additional ounces $0.21 $0.15
Letters (metered 1 oz.) $0.47 $0.50
Outbound International Letters (1 oz.) $1.15 $1.15
Domestic Postcards $0.35 $0.35
The proposed domestic Priority Mail Retail Flat Rate price changes are:
Product Current Proposed
mall Flat Rate Box $7.20 $7.90
Medium Flat Rate Box $13.65 $14.35
Large Flat Rate Box $18.90 $19.95
APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Box $17.40 $18.45
Regular Flat Rate Envelope $6.70 $7.35
Legal Flat Rate Envelope $7.00 $7.65
Padded Flat Rate Envelope $7.25 $8.00
First-Class Package Service, a lightweight expedited offering used primarily by businesses for fulfillment purposes, will move to zone-based pricing to better align with the cost of service and improve value based on distance.
The Postal Service has some of the lowest letter mail postage rates in the industrialized world and also continues to offer a great value in shipping. Unlike some other shippers, the Postal Service does not add surcharges for fuel, residential delivery, or regular Saturday or holiday season delivery.
The PRC will review the prices before they are scheduled to take effect Jan. 27, 2019. The complete Postal Service price filings with the new prices for all products can be found on the PRC site under the Daily Listings section at https://www.prc.gov/dockets/daily (see listing for Oct. 10). For the Mailing Services filing see Docket No. R2019-1. For the Shipping Services filing see Docket No. CP2019-3. The price change tables are also available on the Postal Service website at https://pe.usps.com/PriceChange/Index.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.