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APPROVAL EXPECTED FOR REQUESTED POSTAL RATE HIKE

The United States Postal Service expects approval of its largest rate increases ever. The Postal Rate Commission is expected to make its recommendation Jan. 4 on the request for increases that would boost the cost of all types of mail by an average of 19 percent and raise the cost of a first-class stamp from 25 cents to 30 cents.

Noting that the Postal Service receives no tax dollars and must operate on its own revenue, a postal service spokesman defended the rate hike as merely reflecting increases in the cost of doing business.

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Like other businesses, the Postal Service has faced rising health-care costs and higher gasoline prices.