There's light at end of the USPS budget tunnel

Wednesday - 2/23/2011, 9:41am EST

Joseph Corbett, CFO, USPS

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

President Obama's proposed 2012 budget recommends about $11 billion in relief for the U.S. Postal Service.

USPS Chief Financial Officer, Joseph Corbett, told Federal News Radio the relief could hardly have come at a better time.

This year, said Corbett, the USPS lost $300 million in the first quarter "but we are anticipating for the balance of the year, that by the end of the year, we would lose $6.4 billion dollars, is our current estimate."

Corbett said the postal service is taking steps to reduce operating costs, including having already cut staff by over 100,000 people. "That's more than any other organization anywhere has reduced, and anywhere is a big place."

Closing and consolidating infrastructure is also being considered to continue to save money "and doing everything possible to reduce expenses," said the CFO.

Corbett said he sees both breathing room for this coming year and light at the end of the financial tunnel in the President's support.

The President has called for refunding of $6.9 billion that has been overpaid into the FERS and asked that $4 billion of retiree health benefit payments payments be deferred at the end of this year, "so we're encouraged" by the Administration trying to "help with near-term liquidity and our ability to pay bills at the end of the year."

The Postal Service, said Corbett, has the challenge of being one hundred percent commercially funded, "yet we received unfunded mandates by law" so the flexibility is needed.

As for the future, said Corbett, first and foremost the Postal Service will continue to deliver the mail. "That will still be, 10 years from now, our core business," he said.