Cards' success means no city furloughs

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis employees will not have to take mandatory furloughs this year after all, thanks to the Cardinals' trip to the World Series.

The additional revenue for the city generated by the postseason run has prompted mayor Francis Slay to cancel furloughs. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the good fortune was attributable "to the incredible run to the World Series."

The Cardinals and Texas Rangers split the first two games at Busch Stadium. The next three are scheduled to take place in Arlington, Texas, starting Saturday.

Slay said the postseason baseball has generated a little more than $2 million in extra funds for the city. The furloughs were expected to save the city $2.8 million, but if the World Series makes it to seven games, the city would stand to make another $900,000 or so in additional revenue.

Slay supported emergency furloughs as recently as August, saying the one-, two- and three-week pay cuts were necessary to keep the city in the black.

But that same month, the Cardinals went on an historic tear, coming back from 10½ games behind NL wild-card leader Atlanta on Aug. 25 to make the playoffs on the final game of the season. They then beat the Phillies in five games, and the Brewers in six, to earn the franchise's 18th trip to the World Series.

The games generate additional sales tax revenue. So far in the playoffs, the Cardinals have played seven home games.

Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed was never a supporter of furloughs, saying the city was underestimating revenue for the year.

"The playoffs make it that much better, but even without the playoffs, we didn't have a legitimate fiscal crisis," said Reed, who is expected to run for mayor in 2013.

A meeting of the city's Board of Estimate and Apportionment is scheduled for next week, but it appears unlikely a furlough vote will even be on the agenda.