Postal worker union’s TV ads false and misleading, say lawmakers

Jim Kouri by Jim Kouri on July 16th, 2011

This is article 8 of 14 in the topic US Postal Service

The Post Office workers union may be less than truthful in their TV ad campaign. Credit: Pat Dollard

This week the union that represents workers with the U.S. Postal Service began their latest public relations campaign with a television spot that boasts the nation’s mail service receives no money from taxpayers. The TV ad is being aired on stations such as the Fox News Channel.

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa R-CA) in a letter to the American Postal Worker Union (APWU) asked the union to cancel its misleading ad campaign that falsely claims the United States Postal Service (USPS) does not receive taxpayer support when it does, in fact, receive hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money through preferential tax treatment and other benefits.

“A December 2007 report from the Federal Trade Commission includes a long list of implicit subsidies the Postal Service receives that are not available to private companies,” said Issa in the letter to APWU President Cliff Guffey.

The letter notes that “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.”

The letter also notes that USPS has access to borrowing directly from the United States Treasury at very low rates. As of the end of Fiscal Year 2010, the Postal Service 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%.

Noting that these subsidies are worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually, Issa asked the union not to mislead the American people.

“While you and I have significant differences of opinion on how the Postal Service should be reformed, I believe we must be clear about the underlying facts. I ask you not to engage in a campaign to mislead the American people.”

Issa, the author of the only legislation introduced in Congress that could return the Postal Service to solvency, has also called on the Postal Service and their allies to recognize that the decline in revenue is permanent, driven by the transition to electronic, paperless technology and not temporarily by the recession.

Issa debunked these myths and others in a “Myth vs. Fact” paper published last week.

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