LOW EXPECTATIONS

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FYI: The Independent Budget Office predicts that the city will lose another 38,000 jobs this calendar year and expects city government spending to grow twice as fast as its revenue between now and 2007. The IBO’s analysis of the mayor’s 2004 budget–released today by mandate of the City Charter, despite the fact that much about the budget remains unresolved–says the spending growth will not come from service and program costs but rather from paying pension and benefits for city workers and debt service. Noting the all around belief that the economy won’t pick up until next year at the earliest, IBO dropped its revenue forecast for 2004 by $1.3 billion from what it predicted in November, to $24.6 billion. In one piece of good news, IBO says the legislature’s budget deal, as written, would provide enough help to avoid Mayor Bloomberg’s “doomsday budget” scenario. [5/15/03]