The U.S. Postal Service finished fiscal year 2009 with a $3.8 billion loss — much smaller than expected — thanks to some last-minute congressional legislation and an accounting change.
This might seem surprising, if you’ve been following our postal coverage; the agency has been on pace to post at least a $6 billion loss for much of the year. But a law passed by Congress in September allowed the agency to defer $4 billion in payments into its retiree health benefits trust fund.
That knocked the deficit down to $3.8 billion, and allowed the Postal Service to pay all of its bills. (The agency would have run out of cash without the legislative relief.)
I’m talking in a few minutes with Joe Corbett, the Postal Service’s chief financial officer, so I’ll have more details about the financial report — and the plan for FY2010 — later this afternoon.